We all need an egg

What can I say, there is a huge egg shortage. It’s a fact.

We all need to look after our farmers, as the supermarkets are not doing anything to support them. It’s better to keep egg production going and help our egg farmers survive, here in England, rather than importing cheap eggs from abroad simply to meet customer demand.

We must pay a fair price for them to be able to do that. Our farmers just can’t produce cheap food that’s real. The prices have gone bonkers because of the rising cost of production due to electricity, gas, grain prices, climate change, the war in Ukraine and Avian flu, which has not gone away and is still a huge problem for all poultry farmers worldwide.

Supermarkets want to keep costs low and don’t want to pay our farmers enough to keep production going. They would rather import cheap eggs and let our own farmers go to the wall. This is not the answer or a sustainable long-term solution, it’s simply the big boys being greedy and forgetting about the real people behind the food on our plates.

We need to keep food production going. Our egg farmers get 78 pence per dozen (12), which means only 6 ½ pence per egg. So, when you are buying your eggs, from wherever, it’s simply not enough to cover the costs. The margins are just too low for it to work.

There’s nothing left of most of our high streets in this country. The majority of our greengrocers have gone, as well as the fishmongers. This is because we have become a one-stop shopper at the supermarket. It’s easy and it’s cheap (or we think it is). We’ve become lazy. And whilst I appreciate a lot of people don’t know any different than opting for a supermarket as that’s what they see on the TV and billboards, we all need to change our habits and support the local, independent shops that are working incredibly hard just to keep going.

In the UK countryside, the farm shops are not as expensive as you think. The gap has closed dramatically. Yes we are the equivalent of their finest ranges, because we deal with fresh, quality produce and it’s all locally sourced, but if we want to support our hard working communities then this is where we need to shop. These farm shops and independent producers are trying to support your families, offer you fresh, healthy food for your tables and keep their own businesses going.

The latest food trends for pub and bar operators of the future is the power of a plant. Well, as a farmer’s wife and daughter, I don’t want to see eggs made from plants. I don’t want to see vegan seafood & meat. I don’t want to see fish & dairy alternatives. I want real food from real birds, fish & animals that’s full of minerals and protein and vitamins because it’s had a healthy life itself.

The first food we have when we are born is milk and when we reach old age, we then need calcium again for our old bones in order to keep fit and healthy. I’ve been in the restaurant trade for more 30 years and have seen a lot of fads come and go in the food we are asked for.  Right now it’s trendy to ask for almond, soya, rice and oat milks. Yes, there are genuinely dairy intolerant people but there a lot less of them than you would be led to believe.  I sympathize if you have a real allergy to dairy and it’s also nice to have an alternative just from a taste perspective but, in my opinion, cow’s milk is still the best as it contains all the good protein, vitamins and minerals that we need. And it’s still cheaper than a lot of the trendier milk options.

We get paid 50 pence per litre from Arla when it leaves the farm, which is a good price compared to what we have been paid in the past. There was a time that water was more expensive than milk.

I don’t want to see our farmers disappear and to help make that happen, we need to grow and produce food to feed our country. So please support your local farm shops and look at the labels of the food you buy and choose British. Let’s keep loving local.

Barbara Cossins, Founder & Owner, Love Local Trust Local