November 4, 2003



Scotland's Egg Business Booming Due To World Scarcity


Scotland may have only a few large-scale egg producers, but business is booming and prices in the supermarkets have recently increased.

The much-publicised Atkins diet is one factor in pushing up demand, but it is the global situation which is the real cause of improved returns, according to John Campbell, chairman of Peebles-based Glenrath Farms, Scotland's largest independent egg producer, with a daily output of more than one million eggs.

Campbell, recently returned from an international conference in Chile, commented: "For the very first time since the Second World War eggs are very scarce. Several reasons attributed for that, but in Europe almost half the hens in the Netherlands were slaughtered in the epidemic of avian influenza.

"Millions of birds almost died during the summer in southern Europe, France and even in parts of the south of England as a result of heat stress. Thankfully, Scotland's climate was not too extreme."

Campbell concedes that with European Union regulations stipulating lower stocking densities for caged birds "hundreds of producers" throughout the UK who had previously been operating on slender margins had decided that they could not find the necessary capital to upgrade and had left the industry.

Another positive for the industry, according to Campbell, is the EU directive which makes it mandatory for all eggs to be stamped from January 1, 2004. He said, "This has to be the best marketing tool ever because the stamp will state that the eggs come from Scottish farms. There is no way the rules can be flouted.

"We are indebted to the Scottish Executive for the way in which they have engineered this regulation.

"It is also much welcomed by the major supermarkets who are committed to selling eggs produced in Scotland."

As with most forms of traceability in the food chain, Scotland appears to be ahead compared to other UK states.

All producers have been given a number, several numbers if they are producing under differing systems of management, which will be stamped on the eggs along with the SCO logo.

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