Noble means no choice, says BFREPA

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) says that UK free range egg producers will have no choice about where to market their eggs following the merger of Deans and Stonegate into Noble Foods.

In its response to the Competitions Commission inquiry into the merger of Deans and Stonegate, BFREPA says that the deal between the two giant packers threatens to create serious difficulties for its members in the future.
“A major concern arising from the merger,” writes BFREPA chairman Tom Vesey in a letter to the Commission, “is the lack of choice producers now face when it comes to finding an outlet for their eggs.
"Although there are other egg marketing companies in the UK, none of them are on the scale of Noble Foods or provide the national coverage that Deans or Stonegate did. Effectively this means that for the overwhelming majority of our members they have no choice when it comes to finding a market for their eggs as there are very limited opportunities for direct marketing to retailers.”
BFREPA's letter does accept that the merger could bring benefits to the whole egg supply chain by way of improved efficiencies resulting from cost-savings, which could be passed back to producers. The new company could also bring improved stability to the free range market, the letter says.
The UK's National Farmers' Union and other commentators including John Bowler, managing director of John Bowler Agriculture, have welcomed the merger.
The inquiry was initiated because the Office of Fair Trading concluded that the creation Noble Foods could result in a “substantial lessening of competition” within the egg market.

Editor WorldPoultry

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