Rising feed and energy costs and supply shortages after the worst avian flu crisis in history have caused egg prices to more than double in France, prompting some food companies to cut production.

Both the European Union and the United States experienced one of the worst bird flu crisis on record this year, killing tens of millions of poultry in each region.

Similarly, global egg production, which reached 1.5 trillion in 2021, is expected to decline for the first time this year after falling 4.6% in the US, 3% in the EU and 8% in Europe. France, the largest egg producer in the bloc, according to French trade group CNPO.

“We are in an unprecedented situation. Previous crises have focused specifically on imports from the United States, but this year things are bad everywhere,” said CNPO vice president Loic Courombel. The decline comes at a time when consumers have strong demand for eggs. Eggs are seen as a cheap source of protein during times of rising inflation.

“Some companies that cannot afford the price increases have already started changing recipes or shutting down production lines,” Coulombelle said. “You need a lot of eggs to make cakes and egg noodles.”

Recipe changes include changing the flavor of the ice cream, using less, or less commonly, substituting alternatives such as peas or milk protein.

Egg prices in French supermarkets have risen by about 15% to 20% since the beginning of the year after a law was put into effect linking supermarket food prices to producers’ feed costs.

But prices for industrial eggs on the French spot market, which are driven by supply and demand, were trading at €2.2 ($2.2) per kilogram on Wednesday, more than double from the beginning of the year, and an average of About £65 more than the price. The U.S. spot price for a standard egg is currently at €4.24/kg, although higher demand at the end of the year will likely push prices above a record high of €2.3/kg by the end of 2022.

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