Dunedin egg farmers are changing the way they do business as Covid-19 slashes sales.

Bloem's Pig and Poultry Farm co-owner Pieter Bloem said he usually sold more than 20,000 eggs a week, produced by the 4000 hens on his 38ha farm on Otago Peninsula.

When Covid-19 hit, Dunedin eateries closed and egg sales slumped dramatically.

About 95 per cent of his customers stopped buying and a "big problem" developed as his hens continued to lay, creating a glut of eggs.


Dumping the eggs was never considered, he said.

"We don't give up that easy."

In a bid to find buyers, he launched a website offering online sales of discounted eggs.

The sales from the website (www.bloemfarm.co.nz) allowed the business to provide contactless sales and adhere to the lockdown rules.

People locked down in their homes across Dunedin used the technology to buy eggs.

The move to online gave the business an opportunity to do people "a favour", while establishing a new customer base.

"We had a fantastic response — it's been absolutely amazing."

He had been busier than ever since launching the website.


The home deliveries would continue "for as long as it takes" for the hospitality sector to recover, which could take years, he said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

He knew of two eateries in central Dunedin set to close and he expected more to follow.

Another Dunedin egg farmer was also changing his operation to sell his egg-surplus.

Brighton Gold Free Range Eggs owner Cavan Jenkinson said he had 3000 hens laying eggs on his farm in Taieri Mouth Rd, south of Brighton.

In the Alert Level 4 lockdown, as an essential service, he could continue to supply clients such as Dunedin's FreshChoice supermarket, but the cafes he supplied had closed, leaving him with a huge surplus of stock.

"We lost 50 per cent of our market through the cafes."

To sell the surplus he had been taking orders and delivered to more than 100 homes in the wider Dunedin area.

The move took care of the glut.

"We don't have any excess eggs at the moment — we are completely sold out."

The new business model had made him busier than ever.

Before Covid-19, a bulk order of eggs could be delivered to a cafe, but to deliver the same amount of eggs now required deliveries to about 20 homes.

When Dunedin entered Alert Level 3, one of the cafes he supplied had reopened to launch a takeaway service but, the rest he supplied remained closed.

When the cafes reopened, he would continue to do home deliveries.

To be able to supply cafes and homes, he said he was likely to put on another 2000 hens in the next six months.