Egg supplies decreasing at 'alarming rate' due to avian flu, warn bakers

Egg supplies decreasing at 'alarming rate'

Note from Keith & Pauline:
The general egg market is in turmoil as highlighted in the recent article below. However, there is no need to worry at 'The Old Post Office Luxury B&B' as we are self-sufficient and we don't require stock from anywhere else. Our 'ladies' are fit and healthy through being free range and plenty of space to roam and sleep - they put themselves to bed each night, you know.

The picture shows Castor and Pollux together

Just as eggs are regaining their place in our diet this hits the Industry - small is definitely beautiful.

Although this article relates to the US, the principles are the same for large production regions like the UK and Europe - complicated and complex supply chains with many stages are always in potential jeopardy - just think about horse meat, Sudan 1and many others.

Article Notes below:

By Elaine Watson

Analyst: 'This is perhaps the largest short-term change the US egg market has ever experienced'

Bakers and other big users of eggs could face major supply shortages if the government does not act quickly to allow temporary imports from more egg-producing countries, claims the American Bakers Association (ABA), which says "25% of industrial egg product production, including liquid, frozen, and powdered eggs, is now offline due to avian influenza".

In a note to members published on May 21, ABA president & CEO Robb Mackie said egg supplies were "decreasing at an alarming rate", and that "USDA must act now to ensure that bakers can access necessary supplies to maintain current production.

"We strongly urge the USDA and other responsible agencies to act quickly to allow temporary imports from countries that can help fill urgent demand needs while maintaining adequate food safety standards."

Bakers have had contracts terminated

"Prices have gone up by almost 240% in the last month, and it doesn't look likely to moderate anytime soon. We expect that the flu will continue to spread until temps in the affected region can stay above 80 degrees for a sustained period of time. Until the spread of the flu stops, prices may continue to climb as more egg laying hens are affected by the flu."

He added:" This would be easy to manage if it were just about higher prices. Bakers have had contracts terminated and are scrambling to find additional suppliers who are willing and able to fulfil orders...Receiving enough egg product to continue production is a very real concern for some bakers."

Wholesale price of breaker eggs rose 238% in a month, liquid whole egg price up 189%

"Around 30-31 million egg layers have been affected already [out of around 100m that typically produce eggs for egg products; there are about 303m layers in total in the US]."

He added: "It's not just the case that prices are going up, bakers and foodservice companies we've talked to are really struggling to get egg products now. A lot of companies are buying shell eggs and breaking them to keep their plants running."

Meanwhile, firms offering egg replacement products have been quick to cash in, with Ingredion issuing a press release observing that as "egg demand outstrips supply and as prices continue to rise, egg replacement is now at the forefront of food manufacturers' minds".

However, switching is not a simple exercise for many companies, especially in the packaged food arena where labels need changing, and recipes and processes need adjusting, said Brown.

"This is coming at a time when eggs have been going through a bit of a renaissance, and people don't want to change if they can help it."

Analyst: This is perhaps the largest short-term change the US egg market has ever experienced.

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