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Waitrose is investing £2.6m in egg suppliers as more customers face purchasing restrictions

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Waitrose has pledged to invest £2.6 million in its egg suppliers as it is one of the few supermarkets not to impose purchase limits on customers.

Marks & Spencer and Morrisons are the latest grocers to join Tesco, Asda and Lidl in rationing box sales as rising costs and the fallout from bird flu continue.

However, Waitrose said it had no plans to introduce such a range, adding it was confident there is “a wide availability of UK free range eggs available to buy online and in our stores”.

Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have not imposed limits either, with the Co-op saying it will continue to monitor the situation.

Waitrose said its £2.6m investment would go directly to supporting farmers with rising production costs, such as energy and chicken feed.

James Bailey, Executive Director of Waitrose, said: “We couldn’t function as a business without our farmers. We have built long lasting relationships with our suppliers and make it a point to pay our farmers fairly and give our customers free. Supplying quality British eggs are commitments that we will not give up, even when the going gets tough.

“We still have a good supply of 100% UK free range eggs which we believe is part of these strong relationships and our commitment to our farmers.

“With shortages elsewhere in the market, we have seen a slight increase in demand, but we are working hard to ensure that high-quality, wellness products remain on our shelves.”

Earlier this month, Asda and Lidl announced limits on buying eggs from some of their stores, following Tesco, M&S and Morrisons in recent days.

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Britain is facing its worst-ever avian flu crisis, exacerbating existing shortages as producers cut production or exit industry over rising costs, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatening farmers’ energy. The bills increase the cost of chicken feed, chickens and packaging.

Demand for eggs has also increased as consumers look for cheaper sources of protein to offset rising food bills.

M&S, which limits customers to two boxes from Friday, said: “As a private label retailer, we benefit from direct and long-standing relationships with our trusted suppliers and maintain good availability of British eggs for our customers.

“We have provided additional support to suppliers, including with animal nutrition, to help them manage rising costs.

“While we have a good supply of UK free range eggs, due to the recent surge in demand we are limiting eggs to a maximum of two packs per customer. This is to ensure good availability to all customers and the signage is now in store .

A spokeswoman for Morrison said: “At the end of last week we saw unprecedented demand for our eggs and are now offering a two pack of pods. We encourage customers to only buy what they need so that stock can be replenished as quickly as possible.” May it be normal soon.

“All the eggs we sell are British and most of them come from our own egg packing site in North Yorkshire.”

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has demanded an “urgent investigation” into the disruption of the egg supply chain.

The NFU said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) should look into making a statement under the Agriculture Act 2020 to provide “much-needed support” for egg producers.

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The government said the situation was being monitored, but insisted the UK food supply chain was “resilient” and no “significant impact” was generally expected.

Richard Crampton, Director of Fresh Foods at Sainsbury’s, said: “We understand that farmers who supply our own brand egg packers also face significant challenges and it is clear that this has an impact on the number of eggs they supply. they were able to produce.

“To support them, we have increased the amount we pay our packers for eggs over the past 12 months, while at the same time focusing on keeping prices low for customers.

“In June we stepped up our support in response to high inflation by significantly increasing the amount paid for eggs by 20% and last week we further doubled this investment and paid another 20%.

“This brings the total salary increases we’ve received over the past 12 months to nearly 40%.”

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