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UK egg consumption breaks through the 6 billion barrier

Retail egg sales in the UK have risen for the 11th year in succession, rising by 250 million last year to top 6 billion for the first time in more than 4 decades.

Annual sales grew by almost 5% in volume and 6% in value, according to data from British Lion eggs, with an acceleration of growth seen in the final month of the year. Figures for December show 9% volume growth and 8% value growth year on year.

Green light for runny eggs

This may in part be due to the official announcement in the autumn by the Food Standards Agency on giving the all clear for runny eggs to be eaten by infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly as long as they were produced under the British Lion Code of Practice.

Break the 7 billion egg barrier by 2020

Andrew Joret, British Egg Industry Council chair, said: “The British love affair with eggs is alive and well, and truly flourishing. Just 15 years ago, we were buying only just over 4bn eggs – the rate of growth has been phenomenal and at this rate we could break the 7bn barrier by 2020.

“When it comes to eggs, it’s all good news – young people are eating more, consumer confidence in their nutritional benefits is buoyant, and importantly there is still plenty of room for it to grow further.”

The UK and 6 other countries made up 75% of egg production in Europe last year. Photo: Chameleons Eye/Rex/Shutterstock
The UK and 6 other countries made up 75% of egg production in Europe last year. Photo: Chameleons Eye/Rex/Shutterstock

Mr Joret was confident that sales would continue to grow this year thanks to a £1m marketing campaign being delivered to consumers.

The UK and 6 other countries made up 75% of egg production in Europe last year.

  1. UK (691,500t)
  2. France (914,000 tonnes)
  3. Germany (820,000t)
  4. Italy (792,000t)
  5. Spain (723,500)
  6. The Netherlands (590,000t)
  7. Poland (522,000)

European Commission figures show production rose by 1.2% in 2015/6 and 0.7% in 2016/7 but there may be a reduction in 2017/8 due to the Fipronil scandal.

Figures produced by the European Commission’s market situation for eggs last week support Mr Joret’s optimism with forecasted growth of 2.0% to 705,300t in 2018 for UK production of eggs for consumption.

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