‘HUGE’ increases in the cost of feed, energy, transport and labour are squeezing margins on free-range egg farms, producers have warned.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (Bfrepa) has said members ‘urgently’ need a price rise to reflect inflationary pressure.
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Its chief executive said free-range egg farmers found themselves “at the bottom of the pile”.
“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, robust contracts to be available which allow for movement in the price paid to farmers as input costs, such as feed increase and decrease.
“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.
“This simply isn’t fair and can’t be allowed to continue.”
The price of eggs on supermarket shelves has been driven down by retailers hoping to win market share, Bfrepa said.
That is reflected in Office For National Statistics retail data, which shows that a dozen free-range eggs cost £3.20 in 2014, and £2.14 now.
Of that, producers receive an average of 91p/doz at the farmgate, according to recent Bfrepa figures.
“Retailers and packers need to step up and make the adjustments necessary to reflect the financial pressures free-range egg producers are experiencing,” Mr Gooch said.
“Only the producers are the bottom of the chain are losing out, while everyone else finds ways to pass their costs along.
“This isn’t sustainable, and action must be taken now before more producers leave the sector.”