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Retailers failed to turn up for egg industry crisis meeting

The association put up cardboard cut-outs of retailer representatives after none turned up to its meeting.
The association put up cardboard cut-outs of retailer representatives after none turned up to its meeting.

Free-range egg producers have once more warned of egg shortages after retailers failed to turn up for an industry crisis meeting.

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), which convened an emergency meeting to discuss the problems facing the British egg industry, says the sector is facing a “boom and bust” situation.

It says none of the eight major retailers it invited to the meeting – held at the British Pig & Poultry Fair in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire – turned up.

The meeting was organised in response to rising feed and energy costs on farms, with many farmers warning they are considering stopping production at the end of their flock.

It follows a BFREPA survey of egg producers which found 51% of free-range and organic egg farmers are considering leaving the industry, and 70% plan to stop producing eggs within a year if price rises aren’t forthcoming.

“We’re not surprised but we are very disappointed that we didn’t get engagement from the retailers, who we have repeatedly asked to engage in dialogue with us and our membership,” said BFREPA chief executive officer, Robert Gooch.

“We are seeing examples of other sectors being supported and solutions being found to avert the rising costs of production, but little or nothing is being done to help free-range and organic egg producers.”

He said the organisation’s campaign for higher prices for egg producers won’t stop – it has repeatedly called for shoppers to pay an extra 40p per dozen of free-range eggs, and 80p per dozen of organic eggs, and for the price rises to go back to the farmer.

“We will continue to explain to consumers that we are in an unsustainable situation and that the retailers are putting their profits above the viability of egg businesses,” added Mr Gooch.

“Egg shortages will be the outcome. This has all the hallmarks of a boom and bust situation which is short-sighted and unnecessary.”

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