The Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries (CAOBISCO) has said that since a ban on battery cages introduced this year, manufacturers have been crushed by egg shortages and price increases of around 75% over the last six months.
SMEs under pressure
CAOBISCO secretary general Sabine Nafziger told ConfectioneryNews.com: “A number of SMEs across Europe are under the threat of closing down as they had to lay off workers temporarily due to shortages of egg ingredients."
“If this state of play does not improve rapidly some factories might have to cease their activities."
“Larger companies have also indicated that they would be forced to suspend production lines,” she continued.
Biscuits and cake manufacturers in particular rely on a constant egg supply, said CAOBISCO.
Some companies have told CAOBISCO that they have had to turn to supermarket supplies to continue production.
The industry body says that demand for eggs will exceed EU production by 20% if the Commission fails to act.
CAOBISCO added that exceptional temporary measures were currently being worked out by technical committees involving concerned supply chain members.
Roger Waite, European Commission spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development told this site: “We agree that the egg market is in difficulties at the moment.”
He said the Commission acknowledged that the ban on battery cages was responsible, but said the egg price increases were a sign the ban was working and the legislation would not be overturned.
“There is no compromise on that,” he said.
Keeping egg-producing chicken in battery cages is deemed as an inhumane practice by some animal welfare groups.
He said the only possibility would be to increase imports at reduced tariffs. However the egg shortage was being viewed as a “temporary situation” following past experiences.
When a battery cage ban was introduced in Germany in 2010 egg shortages were reported, but picked up soon after.
Waite said the egg shortage could be discussed in Europe tomorrow.