Egg prices tighten as bird flu cuts supply
Falls in egg layer numbers caused by avian flu outbreaks across Europe has lead to substantial egg price rises over the past 2 months in the EU. But while analysts Mintec suggest the upward price trend will continue in the EU, the Central Egg Agency said it expected the UK retail market to remain competitive.
Mintec said egg prices had risen by 16% since November in light of anticipated tighter supplies at the start of this year.
It said EU egg prices had risen due to the fall in egg layer numbers caused by the number of culls taking place due to the ongoing Avian Influenza outbreak, but also because of rising domestic consumption.
Mintec added that in November and December bird flu outbreaks in mainland Europe had resulted in egg production forecasts falling 8% year on year for quarter one, to 18.5m eggs.
It suggested that, on the demand side, an expected fall in supplies had prompted an increase in demand as buyers tried to secure volumes early. In addition, EU egg consumption had not been affected by the AI outbreak with consumers purchasing more eggs as a protein alternative to red meat.
The Central Egg Agency told Poultry World that the period immediately after Christmas was a quiet one with packers well stocked at present.
“The market is likely to get back to normal at the end of January. Everyone is hoping prices will rise but packers are telling me that they expect the retail market to remain very competitive.
“There is also the issue of retailers beginning to move to cage free systems so it promises to be a busy year ahead,” a spokesman added.
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