US egg carton shortage to extend through holidays

Egg producers have been struggling to find cartons to package their products for months now and an end does not seem to be in sight.

dominiquejames |
dominiquejames |

Egg producers have been struggling to find cartons to package their products for months, and an end does not seem to be in sight.

"Egg packaging, in general, remains in tight supply nationally. Demand for our products has remained strong all throughout the summer months and into the fall," said Phil Laughlin, vice president of strategic accounts with Dolco Packaging, which is a manufacturer of polystyrene foam egg cartons in the United States.

The upcoming holidays certainly will not help this issue. "The holidays will be a difficult time for all egg packaging providers with little to no ability to build pre-holiday inventories nationally. Although there are likely to be fewer large family gatherings, we anticipate that egg consumption will stay steady during the holidays. This is because families continue to enjoy meals at home on a regular basis," Laughlin said.

Will COVID-19 continue to create more issues?

An increase in COVID-19 cases and shutdowns could add to the current problem. "Additional demand for eggs would put even more of a strain on the supply of egg packaging," he said.

Employees affected by COVID-19 have had an impact on production. "While our production folks have done an excellent job at keeping COVID-19 at bay in our facilities, you can't overlook the attendance impact when an employee's family member tests positive," explained Laughlin.

Retailers limited consumers to one dozen eggs per purchase when the pandemic first hit. "That has shifted (the demand) toward offering larger packs for sale, without restrictions. This has resulted in a very high demand for 18-count cartons," said Laughlin.

Meeting customers' needs

The shortage is creating problems for egg producers and in some cases, they are having to package products in alternative methods or in cartons that do not accurately represent the product.

"We work closely with our customers to come up with compromise solutions during this unprecedented supply-demand, and we appreciate the cooperation we have received. Our mutual objective is to use a bit of packaging creativity to meet consumer demand," he concluded.

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


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