In America, egg prices are forecast to be 35% higher in Q1 2018 than they were in Q1 2017, while across the pond, egg prices throughout Europe rose almost 56% between November 2016-2017.
This is according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and official European Commission figures.
Prices are on the rise as demand for eggs surge.
In America, the price of a dozen grade A large eggs was 80 cents at the start of 2017 and are expected to reach $1.06-$1.12 at the beginning of 2018, while in the EU, the same grade of eggs rose from €1.22 ($1.45) per 100g in November 2016 to €1.91 ($2.27) in 2017.
Walking on eggshells
The heightened demand for US eggs overseas is mainly being driven by the recent fipronil scandal.
Numerous foods containing eggs were found to be contaminated by the insecticide, which had been inappropriately used by cleaning crews in the Netherlands to reduce lice in chickens.
Millions of eggs and egg-containing products were pulled from the market.
The outbreak of bird flu, too, affected egg production in countries like South Korea, the Philippines, South Africa and the Netherlands, leading to an increase in demand for US exports.
Another driver, according to Professor Hongwei Xin, director of Iowa State University’s Egg Industry Center, is people are eating more eggs.
He said US consumption of eggs is at its highest in the past 38 years.
“We are at 273.7, about 274 eggs per capita per year," said Xin.
And it's expected to continue climbing.
With no end in sight of the rising egg price, British-owned starch specialist Ulrick & Short has developed the ovaprox egg replace range, a clean label alternative to egg or egg powder.
Ovaprox is derived from wheat and maize, and can be used in a multitude of bakery goods such as muffins, cakes, pancakes. It is also heat stable, making it suitable for all factory processes - and is entirely clean label, non-GM and has allergen free options.
“The recent unprecedented price volatility in the butter and egg markets has demonstrated just how unpredictable these markets are and is putting a real strain on manufacturers. It looks as though this is here to stay in at least the medium term,” said Andrew Ulrick, director, Ulrick & Short.
Additionally, said Ulrick, manufacturers have to exercise more caution when producing products containing eggs, particularly as the fipronil scare is still very fresh on the consumer’s mind.
“Ovaprox plays a dual role in that it puts the mind of consumers and manufacturers to rest, but also provides a very cost effective and crucially price stable alternative,” he said.