May 24, 2023
Italian eggs enter UK market as UK domestic production declines
Italian egg producers are in high demand in the UK, as UK supermarkets seek to replace products lost due to a decline in domestic production, Poultry World reported.
Reports from British media indicate the arrival of Italian eggs on retail shelves in the UK, with allegations suggesting that UK producers claim Italian barn eggs are kept in cages, albeit with the cage doors removed.
Sirio Lionello, president of Eurovo, Italy's largest egg producer, refuted these allegations. He said they keep nine hens per square meter as per European Union rules.
Gian Luaca Bagnara, head of the Italian industry association Assoavi, pointed out a key difference between Italian and UK producers. He highlighted that Italian egg farmers lodged complaints with their government, which in turn invoked an EU rule prohibiting supermarkets from paying below the cost price, ensuring the sustainability of the industry.
Robert Gooch, chief executive of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association, said that many UK producers had halted production to avoid selling at a loss.
Gooch revealed that last year it cost them GBP 1.40 (~US$1.74; GBP 1 = US$1.24) to produce a dozen eggs, but supermarkets insisted on paying only GBP 1 (~US$1.24). He noted that similar British legislation could have been implemented, but the UK government chose not to, leading to concerns about prioritising cheap food over food security.
While supermarkets increased their offers to UK producers towards the end of last year, the destocking process had already resulted in a decrease in the number of hens available. Stock repopulation efforts are underway, but there has been limited interest in constructing new facilities or expanding existing ones in the UK due to high borrowing rates and inflation-driven construction costs.
Ian Pick of specialist planning consultants Ian Pick Associates said that there had been a slight change in the past six weeks, with a slight increase in interest, but significant recovery is still a long way off.
Oliver Grundy from JHG Planning agreed, stating that although the sector has seen some improvement, high materials and energy costs continue to deter major investments in new units.
- Poultry World