Chicken flu, Ukraine struggle push egg costs greater worldwide By Reuters


© Reuters. Eggs displayed at a grocery store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., April 13, 2022. Image taken April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Jim Vondruska


By Tom Polansek and Sybille de La Hamaide

CHICAGO/PARIS (Reuters) – Extreme outbreaks of fowl flu in the US and France are tightening world egg provides and elevating costs for the meals staple because the struggle in Ukraine disrupts shipments to Europe and the Center East.

Greater costs are significantly painful for shoppers who depend on eggs as a low-cost supply of protein and substitute for dearer meat. Demand jumps across the Easter and Passover holidays in the US and Europe as households use eggs to bake and dye Easter eggs.

Chicken flu has worn out greater than 19 million egg-laying chickens on business U.S. farms this yr within the worst outbreak since 2015, eliminating about 6% of the nation’s flock, in line with Reuters calculations of federal and state authorities knowledge. France, in the meantime, is struggling its worst outbreak ever during which about 8% of egg-laying hens have been culled.

When poultry are contaminated, total flocks are culled to comprise the illness, which is usually unfold by wild birds.

The lethal virus and struggle are the newest challenges for egg suppliers additionally grappling with labor shortages and excessive prices for power and grain used for animal feed.

Greater egg costs eat into income for bakeries and meals corporations grappling with elevated prices for flour and different items. World meals costs jumped practically 13% in March to a brand new report excessive because the struggle in Ukraine, a serious exporter of wheat and corn, pushed up grain costs, the U.N. meals company mentioned.

Egg costs are anticipated to remain elevated, producers mentioned, as it’s going to take months to renew operations on contaminated farms. Infections additionally hamper work at amenities that course of shell eggs into merchandise like dried eggs and liquid eggs utilized in meals gadgets equivalent to cake and pancake mixes and egg sandwiches.

    “The product trade is in a basic panic,” mentioned Marcus Rust, chief government of Rose Acre Farms, the second-largest U.S. egg producer. The corporate misplaced about 1.5 million egg-laying chickens at an Iowa farm contaminated by fowl flu, which additionally sidelined a processing plant, he mentioned.


Iowa, the highest U.S. egg-producing state, has suffered badly with the culling of two flocks that every contained greater than 5 million laying chickens. On Wednesday, Nebraska mentioned a flock of greater than 1.7 million laying hens could be culled. The sheer measurement of such poultry operations accelerated the influence on the U.S. meals trade, in comparison with Europe the place farms are smaller.

Wholesale costs for giant eggs within the U.S. Midwest topped $3 per dozen in March and reached the second-highest degree ever, up practically 200% from a yr earlier on the spot market, knowledge agency Urner Barry mentioned. Costs remained under the report of $3.09 per dozen set at first of the COVID-19 pandemic. Egg merchandise like liquid entire eggs are at report highs, although, Urner Barry mentioned.

In France, wholesale shell egg costs have climbed 69% from final yr, French farm workplace FranceAgriMer mentioned. Because of this, shoppers might see greater costs for meals merchandise made with eggs.

“While you produce mayonnaise, it’s fairly sophisticated when egg costs surge,” mentioned Jean-Philippe Puig, chief government of French agri-food group Avril, which owns sauce maker Lesieur. “You have to flip to supermarkets and persuade them to simply accept a value rise.”

America elevated egg imports from international locations together with France, Italy and Spain to spice up provides after its worst-ever outbreak of fowl flu in 2015, in line with U.S. authorities knowledge. Imports are a much less viable possibility now due to outbreaks in Europe, analysts mentioned.

“It is vitally a lot turning into a world challenge by way of the general scarcity,” mentioned Karyn Rispoli, Urner Barry egg market reporter. “Sadly now everyone is operating quick on provide.”


The outbreak of struggle, not simply illness, is disrupting provide chains for Center East patrons.

Santosh Kumar, who imports eggs for Farzana Buying and selling within the United Arab Emirates, mentioned he’s not conscious of shipments from Ukraine into the UAE for the previous two weeks. Farzana is importing eggs from Turkey as an alternative, he mentioned.

Ukraine produced 14.1 billion eggs in 2021, knowledge from Ukraine’s state statistics service exhibits. A yr earlier, manufacturing reached 16.2 billion eggs, greater than the 15.7 billion produced in France, the EU’s largest egg producer, in line with French egg trade group CNPO.

Ukraine has lately been the EU’s principal egg provider, accounting for about half of the imports, forward of the US.

Center Japanese international locations that purchased Ukrainian eggs earlier than the struggle are looking for substitute provides in Europe, mentioned Loic Coulombel, CNPO vice chairman.

“There’s a fowl flu downside in France but in addition all through Europe,” he mentioned. “The isn’t any different European nation that may have a big quantity to compensate for the shortfall.”

French meals producers will doubtless scale back output of some processed items or regulate their recipes to deal with excessive egg costs, mentioned Coulombel, who produces about 1 million eggs in France’s Brittany and Normandy areas.

In Inexperienced Bay, Wisconsin, Liz Rehberg, proprietor of cake and pastry store The Bakery, mentioned the value for 15 dozen eggs climbed to $45 from $26 in current weeks. She is contemplating whether or not to lift costs or scale back the sizes of her baked items.

    “You are simply ordering it since you want eggs,” Rehberg mentioned. “Then you definately have a look at the value and also you go, ‘Oh my God.'”

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