UK customers could face empty shelves as an exodus of British egg farmers is caused by a lack of support from supermarkets amid spiralling costs, industry players warned today.
Farmers have previously called on supermarkets to increase their egg prices due to soaring feed and energy costs in the production process.
However, the industry has now warned that farmers are now considering stopping production at the end of their current flock after their demands were ignored.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) said the cost of feeding hens has jumped 50 per cent, while energy prices have increased by 40 per cent.
It added that fuels costs have increased by 30%, as firms have also had to swallow more expensive labour and packaging.
The industry body says it has asked Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, and Waitrose to raise prices to help, without any success.
It said the price of free range and organic eggs in supermarkets are now below a level whereby farmers can break even, calling for at least a 40p increase per dozen eggs.
A survey of egg producers by BFREPA found that 51 per cent 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,” he concluded.