US egg industry experiencing carton shortage

The current shortage of egg cartons is as a result of multiple factors.

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dominiquejames |

COVID-19 has led to serious changes in various ag markets, including the egg sector, with foodservice and further processing particularly struggling. Now on top of many other challenges, egg producers are struggling to find cartons with which to package their products.

“The current shortage of egg cartons is as a result of multiple factors,” said Phil Laughlin, vice president of sales with Dolco Packaging, which is a manufacturer of polystyrene foam egg cartons in the United States. Dolco also makes poultry meat trays and fruit packaging items.

Laughlin explained that the shortage started due to an already tight supply of cartons that is customary during the Easter buying season. “Then the COVID-19 pandemic hits, which results in panic buying, wiping out egg availability in stores in a matter of days. Egg carton inventories are depleted, coupled with workforce staffing challenges,” he said.

Finally, the demand jumped another 30% for retail store eggs because restaurants were shut down.  “No packaging company has 30% of idle capacity to fill the unforeseen demand,” he explained.

Is there relief ahead?

Laughlin explained that the possible availability of egg cartons for the rest of the year is hard to predict.

“Firstly, we are continuing our COVID education in all of our plants to protect our employees. We are working on plans to attempt to create some additional inventory and working with our loyal long-term customers to best manage supply lines under these unprecedented circumstances. We see demand staying solid even during an economic downturn because they offer affordable protein options for families,” he concluded.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic




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