In Estonia every other egg sold has been imported, Postimees reported on Thursday, and farmers believe there needs to be higher awareness of eggs produced in the country and their true cost.
Estonia has an egg production market, but many eggs sold on supermarket shelves are produced in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine, and farmers who spoke to Postimees said customers only care about price over quality.
Currently priced at around €1 for the cheapest box, which is far below the production price farmers says, a price of €1,50 to €1,60 would be nearer the true cost of production for Estonian cage-free eggs, but when price is taken into consideration many customers prefer to buy eggs from hens kept in cages.
Head of Eesti Muna OÜ Tõnu Vetik said many customers are unaware imported eggs are sold inside boxes with Estonian labels, but said it was hard to reproach people for buying foreign eggs as there is a resistance to expanding the egg industry in Estonia as people do not want large chicken farms close to their houses.
Vetik said the market is moving towards cage-free eggs and companies have accepted this, with 50-60 agreeing to phase them out, but the consumer will have to get used to paying more for their eggs.
Postimees also included the code for understanding how eggs were produced, which is printed on the egg's shell. 0 means the egg is organic, 1 the egg comes from a free-range chicken, 2 from chickens kept for meat, and 3 from chickens kept in cages.
Editor: Helen Wright