Farmers call for 40p price rise on eggs as soaring costs made worse by Ukraine war mean they lose money on every batch

  • Spiralling feed costs mean farmers are losing money on ever egg they produce 
  • They are now calling for supermarkets to introduce a 40p rise on price of eggs
  • Many farmers are now choosing to stop producing rather than lose their farms 

Farmers are demanding a 40p price on rice on eggs after an industry body warned of shortages within weeks amid rapidly rising production costs. 

The British Egg Industry Council revealed that farmers were losing money on every egg they produced due to feed cost increases, which had added 25p to 30p per dozen.

The war in Ukraine has worsened an already-fraught situation, with ‘never-before-seen’ increases across the supply chain, from energy problems to labour shortages. 

Now, the BEIS has predicted 10% to 15% of farmers could leave the industry, with many on the brink of bankruptcy due to the unprecedented rises in the cost of production.

The national flock had already declined by around 4 million in the past year. 

It said many farmers were choosing to stop producing rather than lose their farms, resulting in falling numbers of hens in the UK and increasing pressure on supply. 

Boxes of free range eggs on a shop shelf in a Tesco store in Central London on March 21

Farmers are losing money on every egg they produced due to feed cost increases (file image)

The body written to the chief executives of the major UK retailers to communicate that unless urgent action was taken in the next two weeks, the normal supply of British eggs to meet consumer demand was under severe threat.  

BEIC chairman Andrew Joret said: ‘The tidal wave of cost increases will see many family farms, some of which have been producing eggs for generations, going under in a matter of days, unless something is done quickly.’

According to the BEIC, the increase in uncontrollable input cost required to produce eggs, which is currently up by around 30% on farms, was showing no sign of slowing down.

It warned the availability of British eggs on supermarket shelves was ‘seriously under threat’ if the costs were not passed on.

Mr Joret said: ‘The situation was unsustainable prior to the terrible war, but feed prices have accelerated dramatically in a way never before seen and farmers cannot absorb these costs and carry on with a viable business.

‘Ten years ago, you might typically have paid £1.35 for six medium eggs, which today often cost less than £1 which is a third of the price of a barista coffee.

‘Eggs are one of the most undervalued natural wholefoods; packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. They provide the whole family with nutritious meals at a fraction of the cost of some other proteins.’

He added: ‘It is our top priority to keep up the usual supply of British eggs, the majority of which are produced to the world-leading quality and welfare standards set by the Lion Code, which are enjoyed by so many people around the UK every day.

‘However, without rapid recognition of the seriousness of the situation, a significant number of producers won’t survive to continue to ensure that one of the nation’s favourite home-produced foods is readily available on the table.’ 

It also comes as Britons face a cost of living crisis, with National Insurance and energy bills set to rise from today, alongside rocketing inflation levels.  

A record rise in energy bills kicks off a year of economic pain for millions

Labour party figures show the average tax bill is set to rise £1,060 over the next 12 months, with the controversial national insurance rise taking effect in the coming days.

Meanwhile, energy prices add £690, fuel £300 and higher food costs £275 – with the Bank of England raising interest rates leaving the average family another £295 worse off.   

Energy firm websites crashed yesterday as struggling customers tried to register their meter readings on the last day before the massive rise.

Next week, the Chancellor’s controversial hike in national insurance contributions will kick in, costing someone earning £30,000 an extra £255.

Council tax bills are rising by an average 3.5 per cent. And the hospitality sector warned that the decision to increase VAT to its pre-pandemic levels would put further pressure on inflation rates which are already forecast to hit 9 per cent this year.

Hospitality firms warned price rises in pubs and restaurants are ‘inevitable’ from today when the reduced rate of VAT on the sector goes up from 12.5 per cent to its pre-pandemic level of 20 per cent.

Former minister Robert Halfon said that while the Chancellor had already moved to help by means of measures such as last week’s 5p cut in fuel duty, the scale of the crisis meant he would have to get his chequebook out again.  

Mr Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, in Essex, urged the Prime Minister to use next week’s energy strategy to take VAT and ‘green tariffs’ off energy bills, a move which he said could reduce them by hundreds of pounds.

He said: ‘I welcome the action the Government has taken but we will have to go further, particularly on energy bills.’

Former Cabinet minister John Redwood also urged the Chancellor to ‘do more’ to help struggling families – including ditching the NI hike and VAT on domestic fuel.

‘More action is needed now to see off the hit to real incomes in April and May, rather than pausing to see what happens in the autumn,’ he said.

Mr Sunak has already unveiled some measures to help, including a £200 loan to assist with energy bills, which comes through in October, and a massive rise in the threshold for paying national insurance, which will leave most workers better off when it comes into force in July.  

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