Now eggs are RATIONED: Sainsbury’s sell out, Wetherspoon offers customers hash browns, sausage or onion rings after eggs run out as Lidl shoppers are limited to three cartons each

  • Britons are apparently panic-buying eggs amid fears of supermarket rationing
  • Shoppers shared photos of emptying shelves at Lidl and Sainsbury’s stores 
  • Wetherspoon is offering substitutes for eggs in its English breakfasts 
  • It comes amid an outbreak of bird flu which has seen 48m chickens culled 

Supermarkets are rationing eggs and Wetherspoon is offering breakfast substitutes as Britons appear to panic-buy cartons amid reported shortages. 

Shoppers shared photos of signs at Lidl urging people to limit the number of eggs they buy amid the country’s worst ever bird flu crisis. 

Shelves were bare in Sainsbury’s, where a sign explained that the supermarket was experiencing shortages.  

Meanwhile, breakfasts at some Wetherspoon pubs are egg-less as customers are instead offered hash browns, sausages or onion rings instead. 

A Wetherspoon spokesman said the shortage was only affecting some pubs and that it was a temporary issue. 

The spokesman added that the shortage was not specific to Wetherspoon and blamed the lack of supplies on Avian flu outbreak.  

The outbreak has led to a cull of about 48million chickens – a mix of birds reared for the table and others producing free range eggs – and it is now a legal requirement to keep captive birds and poultry indoors and follow strict biosecurity rules.

There is a risk more stores will ration eggs to avoid disappointment for customers who have been hit previously. 

TODAY: Emptying egg shelves at a Sainsbury’s in a photo shared on Twitter

TODAY: A sign urging people to ration eggs in a Lidl in Wokingham to prevent the store's supply running out

TODAY: A sign urging people to ration eggs in a Lidl in Wokingham to prevent the store’s supply running out

WEDNESDAY: The shortage of eggs in Sainsbury's in Dorking, Surrey

WEDNESDAY: The shortage of eggs in Sainsbury’s in Dorking, Surrey

A popular meal at Wetherspoon pubs, the breakfast typicallly comes with an egg but substitutes are currently being offered

The chain has introduced a wider range of menu options including a vegan breakfast, which includes Quorn sausages and mushrooms

Wetherspoon has been offering customers egg substitutes including sausages, onion rings and hash browns as it struggles to supply its pubs with eggs

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘While avian flu has disrupted the supply of some egg ranges, retailers are experts at managing supply chains and are working hard to minimise impact on customers.’ 

Earlier this year, Asda rationed purchases of its budget lines after items sold out, while shortages of fresh produce linked to poor weather in Europe have also caused shortages. During the pandemic, supermarkets rationed eggs and flour.

Helen Watts, from a wholesale supplier Freshfields Farm Eggs in Cheshire, said avian flu had ‘affected supplies as a lot of birds have had to be culled’ and the situation had been getting ‘gradually worse’.

Charles Mears, who farms at Waresley, Cambridgeshire, said: ‘We’ve been warning people for a long time, but people have been expecting cheap food, which just isn’t sustainable.

WEDNESDAY: 'We are currently experiencing supply issues across our fresh eggs range,' a note told customers at Sainsbury's in Dorking

WEDNESDAY: ‘We are currently experiencing supply issues across our fresh eggs range,’ a note told customers at Sainsbury’s in Dorking

The shortages come against a background of soaring food inflation (file photo)

The shortages come against a background of soaring food inflation (file photo) 

‘If the Government does not intervene to support farmers, there will be no eggs by Christmas.’

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association said: ‘We warned ten months ago that producers would pause or halt production if they weren’t paid a fair price for their product, and that the knock-on effect would be fewer hens and fewer eggs.’

The British Egg Industry Council said: ‘Egg supply is fairly tight at present, however, availability does naturally fluctuate in terms of supply and demand.’

Food and farming ministry Defra said that there was no ‘immediate threat’ to the food supply chain, including eggs.

The shortages come against a background of soaring food inflation, which hit 14.6 per cent in the 12 months to the end of September, according to official figures. 

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