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New Zealand

Egg shortages: Supermarket shelves are bare as industry grapples with supply problems

In Levin’s New World, the egg shelf is bare.
Photo: Janice Swanwick/RNZ

There are no eggs on supermarket shelves, but other supermarkets are limiting the number of cartons customers can purchase while supplies are dwindling.

Christchurch’s Pak’NSave only allowed customers two cartons each, while Levin’s New World and Countdown both had empty shelves.

A ban on battery-cage chickens announced in 2012 went into effect on Saturday, hitting a deadline in the past few years industry turmoil.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the Egg Producers Federation, says more than 75% of poultry farmers have had to change their farming practices or careers because of the ban.

Lack of eggs affects Levin's countdown as there are no eggs on the shelf.

Empty shelves in Levin’s countdown.
Photo: Janice Swanwick/RNZ

“The announcement of supermarkets refusing eggs in colony cages, the demise of the cage system, Covid, and even rising grain prices due to the Ukrainian war all came together,” he said.

“It’s led to a loss of about 600,000 to 700,000 chickens in commercial flocks. That’s a lot of eggs that aren’t available.”

In 2012, 84% of all eggs in the country came from butter farms.

Brooks predicts that egg prices will also rise.

When the government announced a ban on battery cages, farmers were told they would have to move to colony, barn, or free-range farming.

Christchurch's PAK'NSAVE is limiting the number of eggs customers can purchase as egg shortages affect supply.

Pak’NSave in Christchurch does have eggs, but limits how many customers can buy at one time.
Photo: Niva Chittok/RNZ

However, in 2019, both Grocery and Countdown said they would no longer accept colony eggs starting in 2025, which Brooks described as a “bombshell.”

“It caused a real disruption to the industry. A lot of people, actually a third of the industry, had already gone to colony eggs. There was…and the barn system was so little known in New Zealand that it really threw a lot of farmers out.”

New Zealand supermarkets sell more than 50% of whole eggs and when they added the additional ban, some farmers who had already switched to colony cages decided to leave the industry, he said. rice field.

Colony cages that hold 20 to 60 birds and have scratching mats, roosts and nesting areas are humane, Brooks said, but this Controversial by animal rights activists.

Christchurch's PAK'NSAVE is limiting the number of eggs customers can purchase as egg shortages affect supply.

Some supermarkets limit the number of egg cartons customers can buy.
Photo: Niva Chittok/RNZ

Foodstuffs, which owns Pak’NSave and New World, said demand for eggs is also adding to the pressure.

Spokesperson Emma Wooster said: “Eggs are in high demand during this special time of year, with more eggs being eaten for breakfast and brunch, more baking at home, and more pavlova being made. ” he said.

However, she also acknowledged that the ban was a driving factor.

“This is a big change for the egg supply industry, and to help support the transition and ensure customers feel a fair shake as they shop, some grocers are adding temporary eggs to eggs. We have set restrictions.

“In phasing out caged eggs from our stores, we are working with the egg industry to increase our colony, barn and free range egg offerings and working closely with the government and New Zealand egg suppliers to fully Achieve our goal of being cage-free in the future.”

A spokesperson for Countdown said the company is also experiencing reduced supplies.

“We have direct partnerships with our egg producers and appreciate the understanding of our customers while working closely with them to get more eggs onto the shelves as quickly as possible,” they said. I got

But Brooks said it would take at least five months to eliminate the shortage.

“It takes four and a half to five months from the day the chicks are born until they start laying eggs. [farmers] You can order chicks now, but people aren’t going to start watching [eggs stocked back up] for several months. Those hens she doesn’t start laying until May. ”

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/481515/egg-shortage-supermarket-shelves-bare-as-industry-deals-with-supply-issues Egg shortages: Supermarket shelves are bare as industry grapples with supply problems

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