British egg farmers have warned customers could face empty shelves as they consider a mass exodus due to a lack of support from supermarkets amid spiralling costs.Farmers have previously called on supermarkets to increase their egg prices, and are now asking them again to raise prices by as much as 40p per dozen, due to spiralling costs in the production process.The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) said the cost of feeding hens has jumped 50%, while energy prices have increased by 40%.It added fuels costs have increased by 30%, and other costs, such as labour and packaging are also increasing.
It said the price of free range and organic eggs in supermarkets are now too low for them to even break even.
A survey of egg producers by BFREPA found 51% of farmers are “seriously considering stopping production” until the price they are paid improves.A further 18% said they will make their decisions at the end of their current flock.Robert Gooch, chief executive officer of the trade group, said: “There are clear and obvious cost increases being heaped upon farmers, and retailers simply aren’t sufficiently adjusting the retail price.“Any increases being made are too little and too slow. They are suffocating businesses.“This is nothing more than supermarkets putting cheap food marketing tactics above the needs of the primary producer.”
A spokesperson at the British Retail Consortium responded to calls saying: “Retailers have long-standing, established relationships with their suppliers and know how important maintaining these are for their customers and businesses.
"Supermarkets source most of their food from the UK and know they need to pay a sustainable price to farmers but are constrained by how much additional cost they can pass onto consumers in this very difficult market.”