Why European egg production may be flat in 2018
Favorable economic conditions will be tempered by avian influenza concerns, trade changes and demand shifts.
Read the entire report about European egg production exclusively in the March issue of Poultry International.
European egg producers entered 2018 buoyed by a favorable macro-economic outlook and high prices. Although off their 2017 high, egg prices at the end of the year were 47 percent higher than 12 months previously. But high prices are unlikely to be sustained throughout the remainder of the year.
Price increases during the second half of 2017 were driven by difficulties in the supply chain at the very time that European demand for eggs was increasing and, by the end of the year, pricing had started to decline toward more normal levels.
Upward price pressure started in late July, when news of eggs contaminated with fipronil resulted in significant production decreases in Belgium and, more significantly, in the Netherlands, by far and away the largest supplier of eggs to other European Union Member States.
Concerns over fipronil may have dented consumer confidence in the short term, but demand quickly recovered and, with several producers suspended from the market, this represented opportunities for others.
In France, the EU’s largest egg producer, for example, during August and September, saw demand for locally produced eggs rise by 25 percent at the retail level and by 49 percent from the food industry. Whether a preference for locally produced eggs will be sustained throughout 2018 remains to be seen.
Despite these difficulties, when the EU is considered as a whole, egg production is still thought to have been slightly higher in 2017 than in 2016.
The European egg sector may have largely recovered from the contamination scare, ending 2017 with total output slightly higher.