Avian Flu Pandemic Pushes Up Egg Prices in the UK and Taiwan
In the last four months, the price of eggs in supermarkets have skyrocketed a whopping 56.3 percent. In one supermarket, a pack of six eggs has increased from £1.70 to £2.50, according to The Grocer. The cost of eggs in Tesco, Lidl, Iceland, Waitrose and Aldi has risen as well. On average, the cost of eggs in the UK has increased 33.5 percent since last year.
The rise in egg prices is mainly due to the avian flu pandemic which has impacted 58.59 million birds and counting. Other factors include inflation, supply chain issues, and high consumer demand. Robert Gooch, the CEO of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association, has stated that the increases in production are beginning to have a favorable outcome.
In Taiwan, demand for duck eggs has also risen due to the shortage of chicken eggs, resulting in a record high farmgate price of NT$48 per Taiwan catty (600 grams). Kao Chuan-mo, chairman of an egg sales association, said the price hike of NT$5 per kg will push up the wholesale price of duck eggs to a record high NT$80 per kg.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said supermarkets source the vast majority of their food from the UK and know they need to pay a sustainable price to egg farmers, but are constrained by how much additional cost they can pass on to consumers during a cost-of-living crisis. Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said there were still nearly 40 million egg-laying hens in the UK and expressed confidence that “we can get through this supply difficulty in the short term”.
Kao stated that, should the weather conditions improve, the supply situation would not be as strained as it is presently, yet in order to return to normal production, more chickens need to be obtained. It's still too early to say when the supply of chicken eggs will return to normal, despite the government's promise that the shortage will end late this month.
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