Poultry International - March 2018 - 12
12 ❙ PoultryInternational
WHY EUROPEAN EGG PRODUCTION MAY BE FLAT IN 2018
European laying hens by
rearing method, 2016
Free range 3.9%
Source: European Commission
Enriched cages are the main production system
across the European Union. However, their use
is expected to decline as cage eggs are being
increasingly rejected. Watt Global Media
short term, but demand quickly recovered and, with
several producers suspended from the market, this
represented opportunities for others.
In France, the EU's largest egg producer, for example, during August and September, saw demand
for locally produced eggs rise by 25 percent at the
retail level and by 49 percent from the food industry.
Whether a preference for locally produced eggs will
be sustained throughout 2018 remains to be seen.
Despite these difficulties, when the EU is considered as a whole, egg production is still thought to
have been slightly higher
in 2017 than in 2016.
The European egg sector may have largely recov-
ered from the contamination scare, ending 2017 with
total output slightly higher. Prices can be expected
to return to more normal levels, but other challenges
may affect producers as the year unfolds.
The threat of avian influenza remains. Between
September 1 and November 15, 2017, Europe recorded 48 outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 in
poultry flocks, and nine outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza were found in wild birds.
Additionally, over the same period, several outbreaks were ongoing, reports the European Food
Safety Authority. Worryingly, it notes that the disease
had, in some countries, been spread through a lack
of adherence to biosecurity protocols, suggesting that
some producers will need to invest in upgrading their
procedures to minimize exposure to risk.
The European economy enters 2018 in a healthy
position, with growth forecasts for the Euro area,
which comprises 19 of the European Union's 28
member states, ranging from 2.1 to 2.4 percent, and
inflation forecast to fall to 1.4 percent. Employment
is also improving, which should boost consumer
However, against this positive backdrop, and in
addition to potential disease challenges, European
producers are facing other challenges and obstacles.
The tortuous road to Brexit may delay investment
decisions and an eventual agreement may see trade
Despite the U.K. being one of Europe's larger egg
producers, the country is only 85 percent self-sufficient in eggs and egg products. In 2016, for example,
Will Europe's egg producers go cage free?
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ March 2018