There’s only one question on the nation’s lips right now: how do I buy eggs? Some of you will be lucky enough to have them in stock at all, some will be even luckier to be allowed to buy for them and others and some people are bartering live chickens as a back up plan.
The last time I went out of the house a week on Thursday, everywhere in Brixton was completely sold out of eggs and the security guard in Iceland was threatening to call the police to deal with the queue as they’d been the last place rumoured to have any.
The problem with increased egg demand is that you can’t magically create more hens overnight to lay more eggs or command the ones you have to lay faster. I imagine hens get performance anxiety if you do. So what’s an egg hungry nation to do?
Start thinking outside just the supermarkets. Many butchers also stock eggs and many street markets are still open and have stalls selling farm fresh eggs. You can also find eggs in many ‘ethnic shops’ from Turkish grocers to Polski Skleps and Romanian stores or Asian supermarkets. Eggs are eaten worldwide. Stay socially distant but connect with global cuisine and try new places if you don’t usually shop outside supermarkets.
Also look on Twitter and Instagram as many small food producers and farm shops and local shops are pivoting back to responsible home deliveries in their area. This helps the homebound and supports our small traders who are being hammered right now. Many of their boxes and hampers include eggs.
I don’t know if they have been classed as essential or not and thus remain open but if so pound shops often stock eggs in large trays. You might have to compromise animal welfare as they are unlikely to be free range. You’ll also get more chance in a locally run corner store especially if you know the staff and have always been as nice to the staff as you should have been.
If you are a member of a cash and carry like Makro, don’t stockpile but do try them for eggs. If you get a job lot, use your smaller egg boxes at home to share the big stash with other friends, family or neighbours you are helping.
Wholesalers exist to trade with restaurants and catering businesses and with so many of these closed they stock they still want to sell. If you know anyone with a wholesaler card who works in catering, be really nice to them and see if you can work out a way to access eggs via their insider knowledge. If you do promote the hell out of their business now and in the future as part of your thank you.
Supermarkets still seem to have a lot of liquid egg white available in the chiller cabinets as the egg white omelette has never taken off in the UK as much as America. These work well enough for certain dishes and if you are happy to switch to this higher protein lower fat way to have eggs there are multiple online shops that sell liquid egg whites to bodybuilders.
These stores offer the egg whites in bulk much cheaper than supermarkets. The purposefully named Muscle Foods also sells whole liquid eggs in cartons (along with meat and fish and other protein rish foods designed to bulk and build muscle for gym going types) but due to demand cannot ship new orders until mid April. I’ve ordered some mince and salmon from them and while the goods haven’t arrived yet, I was generally impressed by the site.
I also found whole liquid eggs at several online wholesalers. Marco Alimentari supply to the London and Home Counties and are keen to switch their physical business online since their in person trade has stopped. They have an excellent website with fairly short shipping times considering the situation. They sell fresh eggs 15 dozen or 180 to a box and have a minimum order of £100 to use the site.
This was too much for me as a single person but if you can safely socially distance to do a bulk order for a few neighbours or a big hungry family, their catering prices will save you cash if you are buying things like eggs, cheese and ham compared to small supermarket packs. They were absolutely lovely when I spoke to them and very keen to support people without profiteering. Well worth a look.
I ended up buying 4 kilos of liquid egg from Fine Food Specialist online. Based in New Covent Garden, they are more high end that my usual groceries but they could ship this weekend by DPD which swung it for me. I bought from them on Monday when I heard the press conference was delayed and guessed lockdown was coming, choosing to spend the extra to actually have eggs at all.
My plan is to weigh them and bag them and freeze them until needed, switching my usual breakfast of fried eggs for scrambled eggs or a fritatta. This is my moment to try Japanese rolled omelette or tamagoyaki. I can also add egg to rice for the very filling creamy joy that is Japanese egg rice tamago kake gohan.
So far with chives or in future with some anchovy essence, the liquid eggs taste pretty good and may get me over my hatred of omelette.
If this liquid egg thing doesn’t work for you and you are in a vulnerable category like me and rely on online deliveries, you can contact Sainsburys directly to notify them for priority slots via the phone number on the app only or apply for Morrison’s food boxes. Iceland has given all online slots to those in the vulnerable categories. Ocado are running virtual queue systems to enter the site to try to order but don’t appear to be prioritising the vulnerable.
Anyone in the ‘shielding’ category of extremely vulnerable can register here on gov.uk and this list will be shared with supermarkets who then contact you if you are an existing customer to get you past the velvet rope of modern life and into supermarket queues.
Good luck everyone but hopefully this helps buy eggs in the UK at the moment especially online. Do not buy eggs off Ebay. These are fertilised eggs for raising chickens not a crafty work around an issue.
And if you are rationing your stash I might look out some my old wartime guides to help keep you to one a week…