A major Abbotsford industry had a terrific year.
The B.C. egg sector saw revenues climb dramatically last year, with revenues surging 12 per cent to more than $173 million. More than half of all eggs produced in British Columbia come from Abbotsford.
Last year, the industry produced 80.4 million eggs, up from 71.4 million the previous year. Both regular eggs and specialty eggs – those classed free-run, free-range and organic – saw significant jumps.
Specialty egg production continued to increase its share of the B.C. market, with the share of such eggs produced in the province cracking the 20 per cent mark for the first time.
With specialty eggs fetching higher prices, that market now comprises 28 per cent of all farm-gate cash receipts.
But Brad Bond, the chairman of the BC Egg Marketing Board, said that the push from grocery stores for more free-range and free-run eggs may have outstripped consumer demand.
In his chairman’s report in the 2016 Egg Marketing Board annual report, Bond writes that, “Currently, the push from grocery, driven by activists, is greater than the consumer pull and for the first time we are short on cage and organic, and long on supply of free-range and free-run.”
He wrote that farmers have been eager to meet the demand from grocery stores and restaurants, but that they can’t be expected to toggle back to regular egg production when consumer demand doesn’t match retailers’ desire to provide specialty eggs.
Bond attributed the surge in production to large increases in quota, along with a temporary “market growth allowance.”
The result, Bond writes, “is the province is moving closer and closer to being self-sustaining on egg production, with limited need to import from the US or other provinces.”