Here’s Yr 3-Min Explainer On Australia’s Egg Shortage & What It Means For Our Weekend Brunches

australia egg shortage explainer

A certain egg-shaped hole has emerged in our lives, shopping carts and breakfasts. Right when we find ourselves in an avocado glut, the humble egg has become the latest victim to supply chain issues which are leaving shelves bare and shops enforcing strict buying limits. But what’s going on to cause this sudden egg shortage and how long is it going to last?

What’s Causing The Egg Shortage In Australia Right Now?

According to the ABC, the country-wide egg shortage is due to a couple of key things. The major reason is the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns resulting in a drop in demand for eggies from cafés and restaurants — no need for eggs and other fresh produce if you can’t cook and sell stuff, right?

This caused a knock-on effect with egg farmers who reduced their chook flock sizes to avoid an over-production of googies. Now the restaurants, cafés and other kitchens are up and running again, the demand for eggs has jumped back up but flock sizes need to catch up.

Other factors affecting the supply of eggs include chilly winter conditions causing free-range hens to lay less — and the demand for free-range eggs has jumped 20 per cent in the last 10 years — and the staff shortages every industry is faced with amid this year’s COVID winter.

What Does An Egg Shortage Mean For Us?

This egg shortage pretty much does what it says on the lid. It means there are fewer eggs being shipped to supermarkets, grocers, markets and commercial kitchens.

It’s the reason why we’re finding fewer eggs on shelves at the shops, supermarket giants like Coles bringing in buying limits and cafés either offering one egg instead of two or temporarily removing them from menus entirely. That means we’re either going to have to cop a higher price for our poached egg obsession or just go for something else at brunch for a while — maybe it’s financially smarter to actually get the smashed avo for once.

When Will The Shortage End?

Farmers reckon the egg shortage should end in the spring. The combination of the days getting longer and the weather warming up will encourage free-range chooks to resume laying more consistently. It’ll also take a couple of months for egg farmers to build their flocks of laying hens back up to meet demands.

Should I Just Get My Own Chooks?

That’s an option, for sure. But the current cold weather and short days means you might not get many eggs just yet. Those of us living in inner-city suburbs should think twice about adopting backyard chooks. A recent study by The Guardian found backyard hens’ eggs can contain up to 40 times the amount of lead than their commercially-farmed friends due to the lead levels in the dirt they’re scratching and pecking food off.

The lack of eggos in shops is probably going to hang around for a while, so we’ve got a bit more time to have the best low-fuss breakfast out there: tomato on buttery toast.