Independent data has revealed that free-range egg producers are on course to lose more than £300,000 per flock, as industry leaders call for unity across the sector.
The cost of feed, electricity, labour and essential materials continues to rise, causing farmers to lose nearly £10 per hen, according to consultants at ADAS.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) has called for the industry to come together and sign its Egg Pledge; a commitment to work towards a more sustainable future and stop businesses from collapsing.
Data produced this month shows that losses are caused by rising production costs, with the BFREPA saying that the only solution is for farm-gate prices to rise.
BFREPA CEO Robert Gooch said: “We know the cost of living went up 10.1% in the 12 months to September, and rising food prices was the key contributor.
“Farmers have seen small rises in the price they are paid for their eggs, but it’s nowhere near enough for their businesses to be sustainable.
“We need the whole industry to collaborate and try and fix this broken market.”
ADAS puts the total cost of a flock of 32,000 hens at £1.24 million, with average revenue from egg sales bringing in £921,000. This unsustainability has led to some producers being forced to cease production altogether.
Industry predictions are that both production costs and egg demand will continue to increase over this winter, causing many more farms to suffer.
Mr Gooch said that the Egg Pledge aims to unite the sector behind a commitment to work together for a better, more sustainable future, and is urging all businesses involved in free-range production to sign the pledge, which already has 300 signatures.
“By signing the Egg Pledge, you are showing your support for British free-range egg producers and playing your part in ensuring that they have a sustainable future,” Mr Gooch said.
“It is of the upmost importance that we do everything we can do bring about positive change in the industry, so that producers receive the support and success that they need.”