How supermarket retailers are rationing eggs during avian flu epidemic

October 6, 2023 (Last Updated: October 26, 2023)

With the avian flu contributing to the shortage of eggs in South Africa, a few local retail giants have implemented rationing eggs to a limited amount per customer.

Reuters reports that the high-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) spreads rapidly in an infected flock, and causes high death rates. This also affects the distribution of meat which will hit South Africa in the coming weeks.

What is causing the egg price spike?

According to TimesLIVE, the H5 variant is dominant in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The H7, a more deadly variant, is mainly in Limpopo, the North West, the Free State, and Mpumalanga. The publication also stated that industry sources confirmed that locals will be paying significantly higher chicken and egg prices due to the epidemic which has been described as the most devastating since 2017.



How supermarket retailers are rationing eggs during avian flu epidemic

In a statement, Woolworths explained that they had been monitoring the avian flu situation carefully both locally and internationally. “We are following strict biosecurity protocols to protect our hens as best we can.”

The retail company also stated, “We’ve implemented a limit on whole egg purchases in our stores to six eggs per customer while we work with our farmers to ensure regular supply returns as soon as possible. This is a temporary measure, and we appreciate the patience and understanding our customers have shown during this time.”

Pick n Pay (PnP) has also implemented the rationing of eggs. “We will limit purchases to one or two egg packs per customer depending on the region, and we will continue to work closely with our suppliers to manage our stock so that we can assist stores in areas where suppliers have been affected,” said a PnP spokesperson.

The Shoprite group, which owns stores like Checkers, informed Reuters that it was working closely with suppliers to secure as much stock as possible and utilise its supply chain to transport it to regions experiencing shortages. The group also adds that they have no immediate plans to ration eggs.


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Written and published by Jade Rhode for BONA.

Feature image: Unsplash

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