Eggs disappear from Coles, Woolworths as national shortage continues

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Aussie shoppers may have to get used to seeing empty shelves where they'd usually find eggs, as Woolworths, Coles and other major supermarkets continue to face shortages amid ongoing supply issues.

Eggs are the latest casualty in a growing list of products in short supply, joining lettuce, tissues and cold and flu medicine.

Near-empty egg shelves at Coles supermarket
Eggs are the latest product to be added to the growing list of products in short supply at Coles, Woolworths and other major supermarkets. Source: Twitter/@Warwick_Long

While Aussie shoppers have become accustomed to shortages of some grocery staples throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated at the near-empty egg shelves.

Despite the empty shelves, Australian egg producers claim there are no shortages.

Coles confirm egg purchase limits to remain in place

Coles enforced buying restrictions on eggs in mid-July in response to the shortage, with no more than two cartons permitted for each customer at one time.

A Coles spokesperson today confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that purchase limits on eggs remain in place for customers nationwide.

Egg product limits sign in Coles store
Coles supermarkets enforced buying restrictions on eggs in mid-July in response to the shortage. Source: Facebook/Getty

"Temporary purchase limits on eggs have been in place nationally for several weeks now," said the spokesperson.

Yahoo News Australia understands that the egg shortage is an industry-wide issue, so Coles cannot foresee when the egg product limits will be lifted.

"We're continuing to monitor supply and work hard with our suppliers to improve availability and will keep customers updated on any changes."

Woolworths blames reduced production for egg shortage

Unlike their competitor Coles, Woolworths does not currently have any egg buying restrictions in place for customers despite the shortage.

A Woolworths spokesperson previously confirmed to Yahoo News Australia the lack of supply is due to reduced production on a number of farms in some regions.

Woolworths shopper exits supermarket using phone
Woolworths confirmed the lack of egg supply is due to reduced production on a number of farms. Source: AAP

"While we continue to deliver eggs to our stores regularly, customers may notice reduced availability at the moment and we thank them for their patience and understanding," the spokesperson said.

"We're in close contact with our suppliers and are working to increase the availability of eggs in stores as soon as possible."

Producers respond to egg supply issue

Australian Eggs Managing Director, Rowan McMonnies, told Yahoo News that the free range egg supply issue is complex, with many factors at play.

"Free range production is more complex than other systems as there are more variables to manage, including seasonal weather conditions. Egg farmers are usually able to meet demand across the year through planning but Covid disruption has made this difficult," said Mr McMonnies.

He explained that retail egg demand dropped following the lockdowns last year, which indicated to farmers that less eggs were needed.

However, demand has since surged over the last 12 months, meaning farmers have been playing catch up.

"The strength of the egg industry is that there are a range of production systems to provide consumers choice and egg farmers will respond to the current shortages to ensure demand will be met going forward," Mr McMonnies added.

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