Egg prices in France have more than doubled due to rising feed and energy costs, as well as a lack of supplies following the worst bird flu crisis in history, prompting some food companies to reduce output or change recipes, egg producers said on Wednesday.
This year has seen tens of millions of poultry culled in both the European Union and the United States, making it one of the worst bird flu crises in history.
In turn, global egg production, which was expected to reach 1,500 billion in 2021, was expected to fall for the first time in history this year, following a 4.6 per cent drop in the United States, a 3 per cent drop in the EU, and an 8 per cent drop in France, the bloc’s largest egg producer, according to a French industry group.
“We are in a situation that has never been seen before. In previous crises we used to turn to imports, notably from the United States, but this year the situation is bad everywhere,” CNPO deputy chairman Loic Coulombel said.
The drop comes at a time when consumers are looking for low-cost protein sources in the face of rising inflation.
“Unable to pass the price rise some companies have already started changing recipes or have halted production lines,” Coulombel said. “You need a lot of eggs to make cakes or egg pasta.”
A recipe change could include using different types of eggs, reducing the amount used, or, in rare cases, substituting pea or milk proteins.
Egg prices in French supermarkets have risen by 15 per cent-20 per cent since the beginning of the year, as a result of a law that indexes food prices in supermarkets to producers’ animal feed costs.
But, according to Coulombel, industry egg prices on the French spot market, which are also affected by supply and demand, were trading at 2.2 euros ($2.2) per kilogramme on Wednesday, more than doubling their price at the start of the year and about 65% higher than their average price at this time of year.
He predicted that they would surpass a record 2.3 euros/kg before the end of 2022 due to rising demand at the end of the year, but would still be well below US spot prices for standard eggs, which are currently at 4.24 euros/kg.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)