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Reports on both subjects covered at the conference are enclosed in this month’s copy of the Ranger.
Robert covers the contracts consultation in his comment and members are invited to contribute to the consultation.
The serious outbreaks in Belgium of HN3 with close to 50 farms losing up to 60% mortality to a low pathogenic strain of avian influenza, is raising concerns here in the UK.
Despite the seasonal increase in consumption over the Easter period, we are still reporting expansion outstripping demand offsetting any seasonal benefits.
Large eggs are still the buzzword, although some retailers have been putting more emphasis on selling medium and mixed weight eggs.
It is a fine balancing act that we tread in making consumers aware of a hens’ laying cycle in relation to egg sizes. Over 40% of eggs laid are large or very large and with retailers demand for these grades being so strong, the large egg price has held firm whilst the medium egg price has been under constant pressure, having reduced by 10% over the last 10 months.
We are trying to raise awareness of other sizes without reducing the demand for large.
The market has tightened somewhat with mediums being one of the main beneficiaries. I hope this indicates a balance in the market and not just a temporary respite leading up to Easter.
I asked the Ranger if we could reformat the statistics at the back of the Ranger. Whilst the information is all there for a producer to analyse, I think it is important to understand the trends and be able to glance at the statistics and get an immediate overview of the market.
Our introduction to Kantar and the rolling five-year data now available in the Ranger clearly shows the growth of free range and where that growth is being driven. Whilst all egg is in growth with all retailers, free range is the main beneficiary with discounters such as Aldi and Lidl leading the way.