The national egg shortage has persisted into the final days before Christmas, and looks set to continue well into the New Year.

Wholesale prices managed to gain another 5p/doz across the board on top of already-record levels, for both free range and colony (see chart, below).

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The Central Egg Agency (CEA) reported that although the wholesale and processing trade had slowed slightly in the final week, it was “traditional for the time of year.”

CEA’s Andy Crossland said: “Nothing much has changed, it’s still very, very short, and packers are still very busy running into Christmas.

“Retailers are still very strong, so there’s not a lot coming on to the market at the moment.”

Different in 2022

This was quite different to the situation in previous years, he pointed out.

“At this time last year and the year before, (the pre-Christmas trade) had already finished with a pile of egg still to move.

That’s certainly not the case this year.”

Nor was there any likelihood of the customary New Year surplus affecting the market.

Market tight

“I don’t see a great deal changing. There may be a bit of a tidy-up into the New Year with the eggs carried over from Christmas week, but beyond that, I think it’ll remain pretty tight.

“Most packers are saying they are probably going to hang on to it, and roll the stocks around because they are going to need them for retail in the New Year anyway.”

“We are still down in bird numbers, there’s still a shortage, so I think we’ve probably got a good market until Easter,” he predicts.

“Then, as demand wanes through the summer, there may be a bit more surplus around, and prices may ease. We’re a long way away from that yet.”