Price of eggs likely to stay high, but not due to shortage

Eggs at an NTUC Fairprice outlet in Pasir Ris on March 14, 2022. Overall egg supply in Singapore has remained stable.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Rising egg prices in recent months are not because of shortage issues, but are due to higher chicken feed prices and logistics costs, and an overall rise in global inflation.

While a few consumers have reported seeing fewer eggs in some stores, supermarket chains including Sheng Siong and Prime explained that the shelves had not yet been restocked by staff.

The local egg supply contracted in February due to an outbreak of Newcastle disease at Seng Choon Farm, one of Singapore's three largest egg farms. This caused production to fall by 40 per cent to 50 per cent.

A FairPrice spokesman said this was a temporary disruption, and it has since ramped up supplies from other sources, including Malaysia and Thailand.

While supply in Singapore may fluctuate from time to time, supermarket chains and suppliers that The Straits Times spoke to said overall egg supply has remained stable as they rely on various sources to ensure adequate stock.

Mr Sng Kaijun, director of egg importer Dasoon, said supply for the company has been consistent in the past three months. Dasoon imports eggs from countries such as Malaysia, Poland, Thailand, Spain and Australia.

But while egg supply is adequate, consumers will have to continue to bear with rising prices.

A check by The Straits Times on Tuesday (March 15) showed that the price of a tray of 30 eggs at both Sheng Siong and FairPrice cost $7.20, up from $6.15 last month.

FairPrice said prices of eggs have increased over the past two months because of market factors in the current volatile environment, such as demand and supply, feed prices, logistic costs and general manpower shortages.

Seven of the 12 consumers that The Straits Times spoke to said they have noticed egg prices going up. The other five said they have not.

Retired administrative assistant Sophia Tan, 60, said she has cut down on buying eggs when they became more expensive. She and her husband used to buy a tray of 10 eggs for about $2.40 every week.

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"Nowadays, the price of eggs that I always buy has increased to almost $3. We don't work, so we need to be careful about our spending, and since the prices of eggs keep increasing, we decided not to eat so many eggs," said Madam Tan.

Food and beverage businesses are also feeling the pinch.

Mr Mus Mohd Syed, a 62-year-old hawker at Mommy Rendang at Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre, said his stall uses about 150 eggs each day.

"Last year, the price of 30 eggs per tray was about $5. But just a few days ago, it went up to $7.30 for the same tray. I don't want to increase my prices, or else customers will make noise. So I will try to keep and control the prices," said Mr Mus.

Ms Lim Xiu Ru, a lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic's School of Business, said egg prices are likely to remain high in the near future and it is difficult to predict when prices could decrease.

"With current factors like high inflation, expensive chicken feed cost, and rising fuel prices, eggs prices will continue to be elevated. As long as suppliers have to factor in these concerns, prices are likely to remain high," said Ms Lim.

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.