Cage-free eggs are three times more expensive in Mexico

Why do eggs from hens housed in alternative systems cost three times as much?

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Foto por Benjamín Ruiz
Foto por BenjamĂ­n Ruiz

The escalation of alternative eggs in Mexico, whether they are organic, free-range or cage-free, seems unstoppable. Just a year ago, there were a few brands. Today, there is a great variety.

From the marketing point of view, it has opened the range of supply, consumers can use their judgment and they have a variety to choose from, and companies are given the opportunity to differentiate themselves and have other brands. Not to mention that there are more profit margins as well.

Here is where I want to talk about one little detail: the price of these eggs and the margins. What is surprising is that organic, cage-free and free-range eggs exactly cost three times more! While a dozen conventional eggs (packaged and branded) is around MXN21 (US$1) in the supermarket, the others cost a little over MXN60 (US$3).

We know that Mexican poultry producers have a high cost of production and that – at least during 2016 – they had been in trouble because of the low price in the market. We also know that retailers are those that always take the most of the profit margin. So, we can assume they are the ones that take most of the profit margin of the alternative production systems.

I still do not understand for sure what is the objective of the groups promoting these systems. I guess that it goes beyond the fact that hens can spread their wings and can peck here and there. Have they noticed who is the main beneficiary of this? It does not seem right and fair, especially considering that the consumer does not bring back home any extra benefit. Not even better quality, better sustainability, or larger eggs, neither clean nor safer eggs. It is “only" that the cost is three times more. What do you think?

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