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More sales and better prices may be coming

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

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EGG producers in North Devon have had their hopes raised for more sales and possibly improved prices.

It follows the success of promotion campaigns, confidence among buyers, and even the nation's new love for baking.

After pushing up sales by more than 12 per cent in the last 10 years, UK producers are selling 182 eggs per person per year and industry leaders believe there's scope for another 15-20% increase in the UK.

The average price paid by packers to producers for all eggs packed during quarter three 2013 was 89.2 pence per dozen, compared with 87.4 pence per dozen during quarter three 2012.

This relatively healthy position was celebrated in 2013 by using the former Conservative health minister Edwina Curry to front a comeback promotion – 25 years after her comments about salmonella in eggs.

As Britain enjoyed the Great British Bake Off on television, egg sales continued to thrive and the British Egg Industry Council chief executive Mark Williams told members of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association that he was hoping for an increase in consumption of 5% in 2014.

He said UK egg sales finally reached pre-salmonella-scare levels partly thanks to using the red lion stamp to reassure customers: "Few can argue that the Lion scheme has had a dramatic effect on the egg market in the UK.

"Not only have we banished consumers' fears about the health and safety of their eggs, but we've also reinvigorated sales and, this year, we've finally seen consumption return to pre-Edwina Currie levels.

"It's taken some time to get there, but we've done it and, if 2013 was the year of anniversaries, then 2014 must be the year to drive the egg market forward.

"We are in the perfect position to build on consumer demand for a product that is now seen as healthy, safe and something that you should put on the shopping list. That's a far cry from the dark days of the late 80s and something of which the industry should be rightly proud.

"We are hoping to see overall growth of around 5% this year, something that we could only have dreamed of in the 1990s when we were seeing year on year declines of more than 8%."

Figures show 6,713 thousand cases of eggs were packed during the third quarter of 2013 with free range accounting for 44% of all eggs packed, the same as quarter three 2012. Enriched cage accounted for 50% compared to 49 per cent in quarter three 2012. Barn and organic eggs together accounted for 5%.

Egg processors turned supplies into 24,000 tonnes of different products, a rise of 12% on the same period in 2012.

Liquid egg accounted for 63% of the total production and shows a slight increase on the previous quarter.

UK imports of egg products for the period Jan-Aug 2013 stood at 2.2 million cases, a rise of 7.4% on the same period last year. Exports of egg products for the same period totalled 460,000 cases.

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