According to the British Lion Egg Processors (BLEP), one-third of egg used for food manufacturing comes from abroad, which is roughly equivalent to one billion eggs annually.
BLEP said Britain is around 86% self-sufficient for its total egg requirement, but could be fully self-sufficient as there has been a huge growth in the UK flock in the last few years to reflect rising demand.
This comes as the BLEP has embarked on a campaign to encourage food businesses to ‘trust the Lion’ and use domestic produce ahead of Brexit in March 2019. It warned that there are “serious question marks” over the future of imported eggs and egg products.
Chairman Ian Jones said: “There is a ‘Breggsit’ storm brewing. In these uncertain times, with the potential knock-on effects of Brexit on the supply of food imports still not clear, and recurring issues with the safety of eggs and egg products produced abroad, food businesses can put their trust in the Lion to guide them through safely.
“With research also clearly showing that consumers want British eggs to be used in prepared foods containing egg, now is the time for food businesses to give them what they want, relying on the Lion for surety of supply and the highest standards of food safety.”
The trade body also commissioned a consumer survey which found that more than two-thirds of shoppers are concerned that the egg in prepared food products they purchase is produced to different standards depending on which country it comes from. The report also found that more than half of shoppers were disappointed to learn that the egg products in certain prepared foods are not British and that 64% of UK shoppers would feel more confident buying egg products if they saw a Lion mark on the packaging.
According to a BLEP spokesman, more than ¾ of consumers recognise the Lion mark and they see it as representing safe, British food.
In June, a fipronil outbreak was reported in Germany, however the Food Standards Agency said there was no evidence that the UK was affected.
Other British Lion Egg Processors survey findings
- 54% of shoppers expected the eggs in processed food products to be produced to the same standards as those required in the UK
- Three quarters of shoppers feel it’s a supermarket’s responsibility to be completely transparent about where the ingredients in their food products come from
- Almost 50% would think less of a supermarket that sold food products which contained imported eggs
- 44% of shoppers would change the products they buy or where they shop if they found that the eggs used were not British Lion