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Egg prices soar to record high as farmers shift away from caged hens

Those looking forward to enjoying a cooked Kiwi breakfast favourite - eggs on toast - will have to fork out more.

Egg prices have soared to a record high of $4.43 a dozen last month, after the price had been creeping up for the past nine months.

A national egg shortage may be one of the reasons for the rise in retail egg prices - the average price of both caged and barn eggs, Statistics NZ said today when releasing the numbers.

There has been a trend towards more expensive free-range eggs, with industry reports suggesting farmers are making the switch away from caged hens. The switch means that egg supply is down as hen flock sizes are reduced.

"A decade ago, a single egg cost 28 cents, and in April this year it reached 37 cents an egg," consumer prices manager Gael Price said.

Stats NZ also revealed prices for both chocolate and ice cream hit new peaks last month.

The cost of a 250g block of chocolate in supermarkets increased 11 per cent on the previous month, averaging $4.57 last month. 

In February, some chocolate blocks were cut in size, but the prices did not fall by as much.

"Average prices moved again in April when another larger chocolate-maker lifted prices, rather than cutting the weight of its bars," Ms Price said.

The average price for a 2-litre tub of ice cream reached a record high of $6.36 last month, up from $6.11 last month.

The price at the same time last year was almost $1 cheaper at $5.54.

Baskets of eggs to the Chinese market
Source: istock.com