Shoppers complain of lack of eggs and empty shelves in supermarkets

Shoppers complain of lack of eggs and empty shelves in supermarkets – after customers warned to expect several months of low supplies

  •  On average, the price of eggs has risen by 30 per cent in a year
  •  Six large free-range eggs now cost £2.50 at Waitrose, or 41.7p each
  •  In May last year, six eggs at Waitrose  cost £2.10 – a rise of 16 per cent

Shoppers are reporting empty shelves at Waitrose amid reports that egg shortages will continue until the autumn despite the threat of avian flu outbreaks falling.

Availability for eggs remains patchy and varies from one retailer to the next.

But even shoppers who do find they are able to procure a pack of eggs might be in for a surprise when they see the shelf price.

Customers attempting to purchase eggs from Tesco online recently were greeted with a message notifying them that the product is ‘subject to availability’ and they ‘may receive a different box’ to that which they ordered. 

The supermarket’s medium free range eggs were reportedly out of stock online in packs of six.

Shoppers have reported empty shelves at Waitrose as the shortage of eggs continues

Meanwhile, the average price of a dozen eggs shot up by 74 pence – a 30 per cent increase – in the 12 months to March 2023, from £2.43 to £3.17, official figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Six large free-range eggs now cost £2.50 at Waitrose, or 41.7p each. 

In May last year, they cost £2.10. So a rise of 40p – or 16 per cent. In Lidl, large free-range eggs are considerably cheaper – £1.65. A year ago, they were £1.15, up 50p or 43%. 

On average, the price of eggs has risen by 30 per cent in a year.

Sainsbury’s and Tesco customers have reported being unable to buy eggs for months, while a branch of Lidl had reportedly allowed customers to buy up to only three boxes at a time.

Meanwhile, a branch of pub chain Wetherspoons was reportedly serving full English breakfasts without eggs.

Several factors, including food shortages, rising energy costs, and bird flu, are contributing to the ongoing egg shortage.

A spokesman for the British Free Range Egg Producers Association said: ‘Egg shortages have been an ongoing issue in the major supermarkets and some food businesses for many months. 

‘This is primarily as a result of poor farm gate prices in 2022 which caused egg producers to exit the industry or pause production temporarily. 

‘The national free range egg flock is still one million hens down on this time last year which equates to more than 350 million eggs a year not being laid.

‘There are signs that more hens are being housed but production cannot be turned on and off like a tap – it takes months for chicks to be ordered, hatched and reared to an age when they can begin laying.’

A spokesperson for Waitrose said: ‘We’re really sorry if some customers weren’t able to get everything they wanted. We’ve fixed the cause of the problem, and have regular daily deliveries going to all our branches. 

‘Many shops now have good availability, and – while we are seeing very strong demand for eggs – we’re addressing localised issues as quickly as possible.’

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