The German egg industry has recovered swiftly from the downturn in production caused by the switch out of conventional cages. This was among the messages to emerge from an examination of the German egg market held as part of the EuroTier Poultry Forum.

The signals from the German market are positive with not only an increase in egg consumption but also an increase in the number of egg farms. Some egg farms closed as part of the transition, but some farmers have switched into egg production resulting in an increase in the total number of producers. For 2012, per capita egg production is estimated to stand at 214.

Almost two-thirds of German layers are now reared in barn systems, and this has been the favored option for those switching out of conventional cages. Prices paid to producers rose in 2011, following declines in the previous couple of years, and this increase is expected to continue into 2013. However, profitability has been affected by high feed prices.

Some 50 percent of eggs consumed in Germany are purchased by consumers, with the remainder going to caterers and processors, and while sales of organic eggs are increasing, the most profitable method of production remains barn rearing. 

Despite the difficulties of the switch out of conventional cages now behind the industry and the expectation of price increases continuing, there remain challenges for the industry, in particular, welfare issues. 

Germany is not self-sufficient in eggs; producers are expected to concentrate on supplying the home market rather than looking beyond Germany’s borders.

Half of those eggs purchased by consumers are sold by large discounters, such as Aldi and Lidl, which have gained market share over recent years.