UK egg producers see positive outlook, despite tough year
Despite oversupply in some sectors, overall retail egg demand rising
The egg market has had a tough 2013, the report notes, following oversupply, in part driven by colony expansion since the ban on battery cages in 2012. The poor market situation led farmers to deplete flocks early as the egg price fell below production costs and in order to reduce the UK flock size.
Chick placings have fallen steadily so far this year. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (DEFRA) statistics show that during the first eight months of the year, 22 million birds were placed, 5 percent lower compared with a year ago.
Although energy prices remain a concern, feed prices in the UK are now at a more reasonable level.
Free-range eggs are thought to be in tight supply, although colony eggs on the whole remain in oversupply. Despite difficulties on the supply side, egg consumption continues firm. Figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the third quarter of 2013 show retail purchases of all eggs have increased by almost 4 percent on the same period last year. This has been driven by a considerable rise in both free-range and colony egg sales. Sales of organic eggs have risen for the first time since the recession.