Prices of eggs have continued to climb on supermarket shelves over recent months both in the UK and across Europe.
According to data supplied by the British Free Range Producers Association (BFREPA), Asda raised the cost of 12 large free range eggs by 33p last month to £2.80, whilst Lidl and Morrisons also increased the price of the same eggs by 10 and 24p respectively.
These increases are in addition price rises in supermarkets that have gone up steadily over the past year. The cost of a dozen large free range eggs in both Sainsbury’s and Aldi has risen by 50p in the last year, whilst Tesco have raised the cost of 6 large free range eggs by 35p in the last year, BFREPA said.
The rising prices are in response to shortages of egg after producers scaled back production due to poor returns driven by soaring production costs.
Although farm gate egg prices rose to 108.9 pence per dozen in the fourth quarter of 2022 (up 24% on quarter four of 2021 and up 9.9% on quarter three) this hasn’t been enough to offset the growing energy, feed and labour costs.
The total UK laying flock dropped from nearly 39 million birds to just under 36 million between September last year and February 2023, according to BFREPA.
This led to an increase in imports, including Italian shell egg which Sainsbury’s began selling last year despite its UK only egg sourcing policy.
Imports of shell eggs were up 1.3% in November 2022, year on year, to 2.5 million dozens, according to figures supplied by HM Revenue and Customs. And it’s not just shell egg. Imports of egg products are up 5.4% at 8.7 million dozens compared to November 2021.
Prices have risen in the EU too. New data for January 2023 shows that the price of eggs in the EU was, on average, 30% higher than in January 2022. It means eggs were one of the foods with the biggest price rise, according to the European Commission.
Much smaller price increases were recorded in January 2022 compared with January 2021 (+7%) and in January 2021 compared with the pre-COVID-19 month of January 2020 (+1%).
Among the EU countries, the highest increase in annual inflation for eggs was recorded in Czechia (+85% in January 2023 compared with January 2022), followed by Hungary (+80%) and Slovakia (+79%). Smaller but still substantial increases were recorded in Germany and Luxembourg (both +18%), and Austria (+19%).