Egg shortage: Major supermarkets warn of latest product to vanish from supermarket shelves

Egg shortage: Major supermarkets warn of latest product to vanish from supermarket shelves

Scrambled, poached or fried, if eggs are your go-to breakfast food you might want to rethink your morning meal.

Australians are being hit with a national shortage of the brekky favourite, as consumers move towards free-range eggs amid rising production costs, extreme weather events and worker shortages.

Supermarkets across the country are back to implementing purchase limits, with farmers grappling to keep up with demand after they decreased their chicken numbers during lockdown.

Coles supermarkets have introduced restrictions on the everyday item, with customers only allowed to buy no more than two cartons of eggs per shop.

The retail giant said they were continuing to monitor supply and will keep customers updated on any changes.

Over at Woolies, while supply is also a major issue, purchasing limits have not yet been introduced.

A Woolworths spokesperson said the market-wide supply of locally produced eggs had reduced production on a number of farms.

“While we continue to deliver eggs to our stores regularly, customers may notice reduced availability at the moment and we thank them for their patience and understanding,” they said.

“We’re in close contact with our suppliers and are working to increase the availability of eggs in stores as soon as possible.”

Owner of Chooks at the Rooke, a free-range egg farm southwest of Melbourne, Xavier Prime told 3AW Radio that part of the problem was the cold weather that affected how often the birds laid eggs.

“Part of it is the time of the year as well.” he said.

“Free-range eggs, in that sort of space the birds are open to the elements, and with the daylight hours being shorter, that has a lot to do with how many eggs the chickens lay.”

Mr Prime said “to lay the optimum”, hens needs 15-16 hours of daylight every day, but at the moment they are experiencing just 10-11 hours.

A Woolworths spokesman said the scarcity of eggs was due to a production shortage on farms, with the cost of young hens laying eggs increasing by 20 per cent.

“The market-wide supply of locally produced eggs in some regions has recently been impacted by reduced production on a number of farms,” they said.

“While we continue to deliver eggs to our stores regularly, customers may notice reduced availability at the moment and we thank them for their patience and understanding.

“We’re in close contact with our suppliers and are working to increase the availability of eggs in stores as soon as possible.”

The supermarket giant has installed a two-carton limit in some stores.

Mr Prime said he hoped the supply shortages did not push consumers back to caged eggs.

But free-range eggs aren’t the only product Australian shoppers are being stripped of, with supermarkets reporting bare shelves for other household items such as chickpeas, lentils, lettuce, tissues, toilet paper and cold and flu tablets.

“We’re experiencing reduced availability across some of our lentil and chickpea products due to supply chain delays,” a Woolworths spokesman said.

A north Sydney shopper told NCA NewsWire the shelves at their local Woolworths at Neutral Bay were wiped clean of toilet paper on Monday afternoon.

“I wasn’t aware of things had become difficult again for suppliers and retailers but it appears it has!” they said.

“I was down to my last roll at home and found only six packs of one brand left on the shelf on an entire aisle?! A small polite sign simply saying sorry we are experiencing supply challenges.”

The supply chain issues are a combination of the war in Ukraine, flooding and other extreme weather events on Australian shores.

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