The rate of inflation in retail eggs and poultry prices has fallen away sharply over the last six months.

Eggs have shown the most dramatic fall. 

See also: Poultrymeat and eggs win trade concessions in new Ukraine deal

In July, retail egg prices were 27.6% higher than a year earlier. In contrast, they were only 5.4% higher by December, according to the latest figures from the ONS (Office of National Statistics).

This means that the average price of eggs in the shops was still rising rapidly during the second half of 2022 when the effects of the Ukraine conflict began to bite, and severe egg shortages began to appear. 

Since then, the rate of inflation in egg prices has slowed right down, reflecting the trend in the wider economy.

Egg prices

According to the ONS, retail egg prices were actually 0.6% lower in December last year than in July. 

The ONS price index for eggs in July 2023 hit 294, and by December it had slipped to 290.4. The peak index was reached in September last year, at 297.8 (Jan 1987 = 100).

At its peak, egg price inflation far outstripped food in general, which stood at 14.5% in July. 

Poultrymeat

Inflation in retail poultry meat prices has been more limited. Last July it reached 10.2%, more than 17 percentage points less than for eggs, and 4.3 points less than all food. 

By December, poultrymeat inflation was down to 3.9%, compared with 8% for food in general.

More recent figures from Kantar suggest inflation in retail food prices has barely altered since the start of the year. 

Kantar’s survey for the grocery market shows inflation running at 6.8% in January, little changed from the 6.9% recorded in December (Kantar groceries and the ONS all-food surveys comprise differing elements).

Turkeys rebound at Christmas

Another Kantar survey reveals that retail turkey sales over Christmas were particularly strong for whole birds. 

Volume sales of whole turkeys in the two weeks prior to the 25th were up by 29%, compared with the same two weeks a year earlier. 

Meanwhile turkey crowns and joints were generally steady, gaining 0.8% in volume.

Despite this, turkeys have still not made up all the lost ground since Covid. 

Whole turkeys are now the only roasting joint category where volume sales remain below those for Christmas 2019, by 17%.

Over the four-year period for example, beef joint sales for Christmas were up 33% overall, lamb by 55%, whole chickens by 20%, and turkey joints by 0.3%.