Business News

New Zealand Pavlovas and Pastries Hit by Egg Ban

New Zealand’s nationwide ban on battery caged hens has created an egg shortage, pushing up prices for eggs and the foods requiring it, such as breakfast staples and desserts.

Battery cages are small, wire cages used to house egg-laying hens. Each cage is about 40 centimetres (16 inches) and contains four to seven hens.

In 2012, the government announced that battery cages for hens in New Zealand would become illegal from 2023, following Europe’s ban in 2012.

It outlined a series of deadlines for farmers to incrementally give hens more space and completely phase out of battery cages.

Egg Producers Federation Executive Director Michael Brooks recently said that the ban has caused more than 75 percent of chicken farmers to have to change their farming methods.

“There are costs in terms of new land, new farming systems, and a lot of farmers have really got some big and very costly decisions to make—and that’s had an impact on supply, and that is part of the issue that’s leading to this supply issue at the moment,” Brooks told Radio New Zealand.

“To go free range, they’d have to buy a whole new farm … so a lot of farmers were really thrown.”

Desserts Threatened by Key Ingredient Shortage

The timing of the egg shortage comes at a time when prices are already increasing for many other commodities, according to Baking New Zealand President Bernie Sugrue.

Since the doubling of the cost of butter in the past year, his bakery stopped making biscuits after they were no longer economically viable.

Epoch Times Photo
Empty shelves inside the supermarket are a common sight since the pandemic began. (AAP Image/Darren England)

“The biggest issue that the craft bakers have is a rise in all ingredients. It’s not just one specific ingredient … flour has skyrocketed, butter, sugar, we’ve got eggs … then of course, if we wanted to distribute that … the freight is very expensive now,” Sugrue said.

Cowell’s Pavlova’s owner Matthew Heaton said without egg whites, there were going to be no pavlovas, and if the situation worsened, he might have to consider using imported egg whites.

“There’s only so much you can absorb before you have to pass it on [to the customer],” Heaton said.

“If things change too much, we might have to look at different options.”

However, Sugrue said that savvy business people could still make it work by making sound business choices.

“Bakers have to really work smarter, not harder, and really realise what is the best margin product that we’re making and concentrate on that, and you know, ditch the ones that there’s really not a lot of margin in,” he said.

Jessie Zhang

Jessie Zhang is a reporter based in Sydney covering Australian news, focusing on health and environment. Contact her at

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