What effect has COVID19 had on the poultry market?

The demand for both poultry meat and eggs has significantly increased at a retail level throughout the outbreak of COVID19. There has been reports that at its peak, egg sales were up as much as 100%. Christmas peak for eggs is usually up around 45% on the rest of the year. Due to lockdown, people have been baking and cooking from home more. We have seen more families sit down and have a proper breakfast, rather that one on the go, in a rush and therefore this has also contributed to this increased demand.

Whilst the market for eggs at a retail level has been great, the market for second class eggs has been poor. This has been the result of cafes and restaurants being shut, causing a surplus requirement for liquid egg and downgrades. The UK consumes around 35m eggs per day. 60% of this is usually purchased through the retail sector as shell egg. The remaining 40% goes to foodservice outlets and the processing industry. It has been tricky to move the surplus wholesale egg into the retail market as much of this egg would have been imported and most UK retailers have committed to selling British Lion Code eggs. However, we have seen the likes of Sainsburys importing barn egg from Spain and Lidl from Holland, to keep up with demand.

The poultry meat market, though, has not coped with the COVID19 outbreak so well as the egg sector. After restaurants and pubs were shut this contributed towards a sudden collapse of the wholesale market. Orders for day old chicks have been cancelled to match the reduction in food being eaten out of the home. Whilst the meat sector still remains a challenging place, the sales of poultry meat in retail rose by nearly 75% during the initial panic buying stage.

Some interesting facts:

  • 6 in 1o consumers eat eggs more than once a week
  • For a quarter of those consumers, that frequency is growing
  • Versatility, taste and value are the key selling points of eggs
  • Fried is the most popular type of egg
  • More eggs are eaten in the East of England than anywhere else in the country