Egg prices soar thanks to US avian flu

Bakery prices could rise

Fresh eggs from farm

Egg prices across Europe are starting to rocket, thanks to an increase in demand from the US, which has been hard hit by avian flu.

Britain's food manufacturers are now experiencing shortages of the eggs they need for their recipes, with egg prices up by as much as 58% over the last month.

The hike in prices follows a major outbreak of bird flu in the US. The country has lost 12% of its laying flock, with 46 million chickens and turkeys slaughtered since last December. It will take months to get the number of laying birds back up to normal.

The disease has been found across the US and in Canada, although it is not expected to spread to the UK.

As a result, the US is now importing European eggs for the first time in ten years. It has expanded the list of approved exporters to include Chile, Argentina, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, driving worldwide prices higher.

In the US, supermarket prices have shot up from $1.42 to to $1.66 per dozen, and are predicted to reach $1.87 this autumn. One store has even started rationing customers to three dozen eggs each.

And in a knock-on effect in the EU, Mintec analyst Emma Jayne Smith tells the Grocer, prices rose by 58% from May to June. "EU liquid white, liquid yolk and yolk powder prices have also been affected," she says.

So far, the shortage hasn't resulted in higher prices for consumers, as supermarkets tend to use eggs as a loss-leader, along with other staple products. However, the prices of items that use eggs as an ingredient could rise, with everything from mayonnaise to cakes potentially affected.

"Eggs are in loads of things where it's used as a hidden ingredient. It's even used in wine production and shampoo production," a spokesman for the British Egg Information Service tells the Daily Telegraph.

"In order to address the severe shortages in the US, some of the EU's production is being diverted and this is beginning to cause some supply disruption in the EU. The problems are particularly severe in the egg products market which would normally absorb overproduction, which is not currently available."

Bakery Dealing with Increase in Egg Prices
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