Poultry farmers are only receiving 20% of the extra money consumers are paying for free-range eggs, claim egg industry leaders.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) says shoppers are currently paying 20p more for a dozen free-range eggs, however farmers are only receiving 4p extra for the eggs.
The association is calling on supermarkets and egg buyers to ensure the recent retail price rise for eggs is reflected in the money farmers are paid for their produce.
“We welcome the small rise in egg prices in supermarkets but it needs to go further and the money needs to make its way to farmers, not into the pockets of the supermarkets and the egg packers,” said BFREPA chief executive, Robert Gooch.
“Not one retailer has done what was asked and increased egg prices by 40p. Only then will many producers be able to break even.”
The association has repeatedly called for shoppers to pay an extra 40p per dozen of free-range eggs, and 80p per dozen of organic eggs, and for the price rises to go back to the farmer.
It says there has been no let-up in the pressure facing farmers as input costs – such as feed and fuel – show no signs of reducing.
Mr Gooch said failure to pay egg farmers more for their produce will result in many leaving the industry, or pausing production, leading to a shortage of British eggs in six to nine months.
“Farmers cannot continue producing free range eggs at a loss and the last thing the British public wants to see is a watering down of its excellent animal welfare and food safety standards – but that is exactly what is coming as a shortage of British eggs on the shelves hurtles towards us,” added Mr Gooch.
“Retailers will likely make up the shortfall with imports from countries which don’t adhere to the same high welfare and safety standards we have here in the UK.”