Consumers turning to specialty eggs

Production of free-run, free-range and organic eggs jumps 19 per cent in last year.

Farmers are producing more free-run

The number of free-run, free-range and organic eggs produced in British Columbia jumped dramatically in 2015, as farmers attempted to match increasing demand from consumers and restaurants, according to the BC Egg Marketing Board’s recently released 2015 annual report.

Abbotsford is home to 67 egg-producing farms, representing more than half of the provincial total. Last year, B.C.’s farms produced 71.4 million dozens of eggs worth a total of $153.9 million. Those numbers are up just one per cent from 2014 – but the increase comes solely on the backs of increased specialty egg production.

The value of free-run, free-range and organic eggs produced jumped 19 per cent in just the last year, and now makes up 19.3 per cent of egg production in B.C. That’s up from 12 per cent in 2010. B.C. produces more specialty eggs than any other province, according to marketing board chair Brad Bond.

The increase has been fueled by a shift in consumer preferences, with the number and value of regular eggs produced in the province dropping between 2015 and 2014.

“More and more consumers and hospitality chains want to know where their food is produced and how it is made,” Bond said in the report. “Almost on a daily or weekly basis there is an announcement that another major chain is going cage-free. This will create a demand shift from traditional to specialty egg products, which will entail significant capital expenditures and farm improvements by our producers.”