Tesco is the latest supermarket to announce the rationing of eggs to customers after issues in the supply chain.
It follows Morrisons, Asda, Lidl, and M&S already having limited the number of eggs customers can buy, with shortages affecting the whole of the UK.
The largest-ever levels of Avian Flu, and spiralling costs for poultry farmers, have caused a backlog in supply.
An industry body has warned that supply issues could last beyond Christmas, with The British Free Range Egg Producers Association saying that bird flu-related culls have caused over 750,000 bird deaths since 1 October alone, compared to 1.8m over the whole of last year.
The BFREPA have claimed the egg shortage is due to retailers not paying a “sustainable” price to farmers, with poultry feed prices increasing 50% since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and fuel bills rising 40%.
A BFREPA spokesperson said: “It’s very hard to predict but we can certainly see [shortages] lasting until after Christmas,” mentioning that a third of members had either cut back production or left the industry entirely because they can no longer cover the rising costs of production.
Since 7 November, UK Government legislation dictates that producers of free-range eggs and poultry must keep their birds inside, in an attempt to stop the transmission of Avian Flu from wild birds. Similar orders were issued in 2017, 2020 and 2021, and lasted for up to 22 weeks.
Thérèse Coffey, the environment secretary, said on Thursday there were still nearly 40 million egg-laying hens in the UK, and expressed confidence that “we can get through this supply difficulty in the short term”.
Empty shelves have been a regular sight for shoppers since the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, with the global supply of items like grains and oils disrupted.
Sainsbury’s has admitted to buying eggs from Italy in order to maintain supply, although previously saying that they are committed to only supplying eggs from the UK.
Pub chain Wetherspoons are substituting eggs in Full English Breakfasts, offering hash browns, sausages, or onion rings instead.
A Wetherspoons spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there are temporary issues with egg supplies at some Wetherspoon pubs, due to the current impact of Avian flu on egg production.
“We are experiencing issues in receiving all the supplies we require to satisfy demand in every pub.”