New Zealand pavlova and pastries subject to egg ban

In New Zealand, a nationwide ban on chickens kept in battery cages has created an egg shortage, driving up the price of eggs and foods that require them, such as breakfast staples and desserts.

A battery cage is a small wire cage used to house laying hens. Each cage is about 40 centimeters (16 inches) and holds 4-7 hens.

In 2012, the government announced that chicken battery cages would be illegal in New Zealand from 2023, following a European ban in 2012.

It outlined a series of deadlines for chicken farmers to gradually give more space and do away with battery cages altogether.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the Egg Producers Federation, recently said the ban has forced more than 75% of poultry farmers to change their farming practices.

“New land, new farming systems come with a cost. Many farmers are making really big, very costly decisions. It’s part of the connecting issue, we have supply issues at the moment,” Brooks told Radio New Zealand.

“We had to buy a whole new farm to let them go free … so many farmers were really thrown out.”

Desserts threatened by shortage of key ingredients

The timing of the egg shortage comes at a time when prices for many other commodities have already increased, according to Baking New Zealand president Bernie Sagru.

His bakery stopped making biscuits after it became economically unprofitable after the price of butter doubled in the past year.

Epoch Times photo
Empty shelves in supermarkets have been a common sight since the pandemic began. (AAP Image/Darren England)

“The biggest problem craft bakers have is the rise of all ingredients. … Freight is very expensive right now.

Matthew Heaton, owner of Cowell’s Pavlova, said without egg whites, there would be no pavlova, and if things got worse, he might have to consider using imported egg whites.

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

“If the change is too great, you may need to consider other options.”

But Sugrue says smart business people can make it work by making sound business choices.

“Bakers have to work smarter, not harder, and really understand and focus on what the highest margin products we are making. And you know, we have to ditch products that don’t have very high profit margins,” he said.

Jesse Chan

Jessie Zhang is a Sydney-based reporter covering Australian news with a focus on health and the environment. Please contact her at [email protected]