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British free-range egg producers need urgent price increase

Rising cost of feed, energy, transport and labour causing pressure

24 November 2021, at 11:12am

The British Free-Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) has expressed an urgent need for a price increase as industry costs spiral.

A price rise is urgently needed to cover huge increases in the cost of feed, energy, transport, and labour, said BFREPA. Costs have been rising over the past 12 months. There is no sign they will be slowing anytime soon.

Data shows the price paid to free-range egg producers remains static or declining.

While other livestock sectors have received price increases, the free-range egg producers have not, said BFREPA CEO Robert Gooch.

“Free range egg producers are always at the bottom of the pile,” said Gooch. “Everyone else in the supply chain secures their margin by passing the rising costs down the chain, so they inevitably get left at the farmer’s door.

BFREPA has campaigned for fair and robust contracts that allow an increase in the price paid to farmers to reflect the rising cost of inputs, said Good.

“These contracts have been adopted by some retailers and packers but there are numerous examples of these contracts being broken now that inflationary pressures are rising," he said. “This simply isn’t fair and can’t be allowed to continue.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, British consumers are paying less for eggs now than they were seven years ago. In July 2014, a dozen free range eggs cost £3.09. Just two months ago in September 2021, shoppers paid an average of £2.14.

Of the price paid, only 91p goes to the farmer currently. The rest is taken by packers and supermarkets.

“Retailers and packers need to step up and make the adjustments necessary to reflect the financial pressures free range egg producers are experiencing,” Gooch said.

“Only the producers at the bottom of the chain are losing out, while everyone else finds ways to pass their costs along," he added. “This isn’t sustainable, and action must be taken now before more producers leave the sector.”