Just weeks after the British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association (BFREPA) warned that current egg prices are unsustainable in the face of rising production costs, a major egg laying business has announced losses just shy of £4million.

Accounts for the year to the end of March 2021, show that Shrewsbury-based, Oaklands Farm Eggs, made a pre-tax loss of £3.8m over the 12 months. This figure is more than double the £1.7m loss on the 2020 accounts and follows on from the 2019 tax year when £2.6m was lost.

The last year Oaklands Farm Eggs business made a profit was in 2018, when it made just under £2m before tax.

Elwyn Griffiths, director of company said the loss mostly due to the one-off sale of land and profit of disposal in 2020.

He added that net assets of just over £16mn were down just under 20% year-on-year, but that the company continued to be strong due to continuous reinvestment in the latest technology.

Mr Griffiths also said the company would continue cage-free laying activities and its lead into robotics and automation.

“The current saturated market and other wider economic conditions which influence demand are driving down the prices of free range eggs. These conditions do not consider future sustainability.

"The directors monitor this risk and mitigate this through withdrawing from markets which are in the opinion of the directors not considered to be sustainable.”

The British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association (BFREPA) has been warning that current prices are simply unsustainable in the face of rising production costs.

Speaking at the Pig and Poultry Fair, Robert Gooch, chief executive of BFREPA said: "This isn’t something retailers can ignore in the hope it will go away.

"If the UK’s biggest supermarkets don’t increase the price of free range and organic eggs to a level where farms can at least break even, there will be egg shortages by the end of this year.

“Farmers cannot continue to produce eggs for nothing,” he said. “The situation is so dire that scores of farms are considering stopping production at the end of their current flock

“Only retailers have the power to prevent a mass exodus and keep British free range eggs stocked on supermarket shelves for their customers.”