Egg prices set to rise - and not because of Brexit

Egg prices on the up. Is it time for an Eggsit?

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The price of yet another foodstuff is set to rise - and for once, it's got nothing to do with Brexit.

The wholesale price of eggs has shot up by nearly six per cent in the last two months in the UK, and by 16% across the rest of the EU. So far, this rise hasn't really been passed on to consumers, as supermarkets tend to use eggs as a loss-leader - but that's likely to change.

The price hike will also affect the cost of foods of which eggs are an ingredient - everything from mayonnaise to cakes, and even shampoo.

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The main reason for the increase is an outbreak of bird flu that means EU production this year is likely to be 8% lower than 2016. South Korea, too, has been struggling with a different strain of the same disease and has recently agreed to allow US imports again - putting further pressure on supply.

Egg prices soar thanks to US avian flu

Meanwhile, demand in the UK has increased - partly because of celebrity endorsements, says market research firm Mintec.

A spokesman tells The Grocer: "In October, UK egg sales increased nine per cent year on year, accounting for an extra 40 million sold eggs, mostly attributed to more eggs being used as part of a healthy diet."

And there are more celebrity endorsements on the way, with the launch last week of a new campaign from the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC).

It's signed up chef Simon Rimmer, health and fitness expert Lucy Mecklenburgh and TV presenter Helen Skelton as ambassadors for British Lion eggs, as part of a £1 million marketing campaign.

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"Young people are eating more eggs, inhibiting factors are at an all-time low and there is more confidence than ever in the nutritional benefits of eggs," BEIC chairman Andrew Joret tells Farming UK.

"Add to this the anticipated recommendation from the FSA that pregnant women, babies and older people can enjoy runny eggs once more, as long as they are British Lion, and we're in a good position."

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