Egg lovers across the country may have to get used to seeing near-empty shelves, as Coles and Woolworths supermarkets continue to face shortages amid a decreased supply from farmers.
Over the course of the pandemic, Aussie customers have become accustomed to reduced supplies of essential food items, with eggs just the latest to be added to the list.
Coles has placed restrictions on eggs, with customers only allowed to buy no more than two cartons in one shop.
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A Coles spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au it was continuing to monitor supply and work hard with suppliers to improve availability.
“(We) will keep customers updated on any changes,” the spokesperson said.
Woolworths stores do not currently have any restrictions in place, with eggs continuing to be delivered into stores on a regular basis despite the constrained supply.
A spokesperson attributed the shortage to a reduction in the output of locally produced eggs at a number of farms across the country.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
“We’re in close contact with our suppliers and are working to increase the availability of eggs in stores as soon as possible.”
Australian Eggs managing director Rowan McMonnies said while some were pinning the blame on free-range eggs for the empty shelves, there is actually a host of contributing factors.
“Free-range production is more complex than other systems as there are more variables to manage, including seasonal weather conditions,” he said.
“Egg farmers are usually able to meet demand across the year through planning but COVID disruption has made this difficult.”
According to McMonnies, when lockdown ended last year, egg demand dropped significantly, which sent a signal to farmers that people did not want as many eggs.
However, demand has bounced back much faster than expected, and demand for eggs has increased over the past 12 months.
“Retail volumes are only down slightly on this time last year, which was at an elevated position due to the COVID lockdowns,” McMonnies said.
“Cafes and restaurants appear to have also bounced back faster than anticipated as diners have made up for lost time.”
McMonnies reassured customers that the egg industry was strong and that a range of production systems meant customers would continue to have a variety of choices.
“Egg farmers will respond to the current shortages to ensure demand will be met going forward.”