The price of eggs is rising sharply in France due to the avian flu epidemic that has affected farms across the country.
Prices could rise to up to 50% for certain patissiers and restaurateurs, figures suggest, causing issues for artisans including bakers and ice cream makers. Prices on supermarket shelves are also likely to rise, although the amount will depend on how much the selling store decides to absorb.
Stéphane Raymond-Bernardé, manager of ice cream shop Glacier 1891, told FranceInfo: “[We also] use egg yolks and egg whites, as well as whole eggs. And in three months [the price has] gone up 11%.”
This is largely due to the devastating effects of avian flu, which has in some cases infected entire chicken farms and caused the slaughter of millions of hens.
Egg production has therefore dropped.
Loïc Coulombel, president of egg professionals union Le Syndicat national des industriels et professionnels de l'œuf, said: “About three million hens were slaughtered in the Pays de Loire and other French regions because of bird flu, which corresponds to about 6% of the daily French production, so we are missing two and a half million eggs every day, out of 42 million.”
Similarly, the cost of chicken feed has also risen considerably due to supply chain issues worsened by the war in Ukraine.
Emilie Deligny, a chicken farmer in Savoie, told FranceInfo: “Because of the rise in the price of feed, I have no choice but to increase the selling price of my eggs, to be able to keep a margin that allows me to make a living.”
Around 90% of people in France consume eggs at least once a week.
Baguette prices also up
It comes as the war in Ukraine has also caused the price of baguettes to increase in France, due to the rising cost of flour.
One artisan baker told FranceInfo that he has increased the price of one baguette from 95 centimes to €1 and that his “margin has dropped”.
The cost of butter, oil and energy has also soared, all with knock-on effects for bakeries. However, some are trying to avoid rising prices so as not to scare customers away.
Mikaël Scholl, artisan baker, said: “The purchasing power of our clients is paramount if we want to continue working.”
Yet, some clients have said they are happy to pay the extra, with one saying they find the price rises “logical” given the rising cost of raw ingredients, and another saying that they are ready to pay a few extra centimes in order to continue supporting local bakeries.
It comes as supermarkets including E. Leclerc sparked a major row among producers when they announced that they would freeze the cost of a baguette at below-market prices.