April 17, 2020

Navigating the Egg Counter During COVID-19

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

You may have noticed egg shortages or a lack of availability of the type of eggs you usually buy during this Pandemic.  Eggs are a weekly staple for most of us, and I wanted to share some information about what to expect as you shop for eggs in your grocery store.

First, let me assure you that all of our sites are fully operational. As always, our farmers are working hard and caring for their chickens in order to feed Canadian families. At every location, we are supporting our employees to ensure their health and safety, which ultimately results in our ability to maintain the flow of eggs to grocery stores.

With this crisis we are experiencing a higher demand for eggs. As context, at peak times the Canadian system runs a little short on eggs.  This is because we are required to bring in eggs from the United States through different government negotiated trade agreements. This arrangement helps us with forecasted and seasonal sales spikes like we have at Easter and Christmas.  However, now there is maximum demand for eggs all across North America with limited surpluses available to the Canadian market from the U.S.

We are adapting to changes in the supply chain. With people eating at home, food purchasing has shifted primarily to retail grocery stores making it difficult to keep eggs in stock. Many restaurants are closed, including work cafeterias and food courts near office buildings.  We have worked as quickly as possible to adapt the supply of eggs at retail.

Some of you may have noticed a low supply of Large eggs. We primarily sell Large eggs to grocery stores, and we sell more Medium eggs to the restaurant industry. With the shift in our business to retail grocery, we are encouraging our retail partners to carry Medium eggs in order to fulfill grocery store requirements.

Some of you may have also noticed carton shortages. With the surge in demand for eggs at retail, our fiber carton packaging suppliers have struggled to keep up with the demands of the North American carton market.  You will soon notice the reintroduction of plastic egg packaging for select brands, which we had eliminated due to concerns around plastic waste.  As well, because of the carton shortage, you may find eggs in retail stores in shrink-wrapped 30 egg loose trays, more consistent with the way they are usually sold to restaurants.  Both of these formats take pressure off of our fiber carton suppliers.  Please be assured that we are working hard to increase inventory in retail packaging formats.

Burnbrae Farms is a 6th generation Canadian family business with production facilities in 5 provinces. As we always have, we are working tirelessly to meet the needs of Canadian families. With the slowdown of our restaurant business, we have capacity at production facilities that make other products like hard cooked eggs, omelets and liquid eggs, which provide convenient meal options. Alternative egg purchases help keep our colleagues working in our processing plants while taking pressure off our shell egg supply. If you are experiencing shell egg shortages, please consider these alternatives:

Burnbrae Farms Naturegg Simply Egg Whites are in 500ml or 1 L size gable top cartons in the dairy section.  These are fat and cholesterol free and full of quality protein.

Burnbrae Farms EGG Creations! are in 500ml size gable top cartons in the dairy section and are available in Whole Egg and Fat Free Original, Cheese and Chive, and Garden Vegetable flavours. These products are an excellent alternative to shell eggs and can be frozen.

Burnbrae Farms EGGS2go! Hard Boiled Eggs are available in 2-pack and 6-pack pouches. They are ready-to-eat and available in the deli or the dairy.

Burnbrae Farms EGG Bakes! Crustless Quiches are currently offered in the frozen section of the retail stores.

For 125 years, Burnbrae has been committed to supporting Canadian communities. Today, that commitment has never been truer.   Everyone at Burnbrae Farms is extremely appreciative of your patience, encouragement and kind words as we adapt to these new ways of working.  We will keep you informed as things develop and are here to answer any questions you may have.

These are trying times for all of us and I wish you all good health as you stay at home. We will get through this crisis together.

Margaret Hudson