UK egg producer Noble Foods recorded a 22% drop in pre-tax profits last year which the unlisted described as a “very difficult” one for the egg industry.

Noble Foods, which is the largest egg producer in the UK in volume terms, reported pre-tax profits the year to the end of September 2011 of GBP18.7m (US$30.3m), against GBP24.1m in the previous year, on sales up from GBP541.8m to GBP555.5m.

The producer of the Happy Egg and Big & Fresh brands, which filed its accounts at Companies House this month, attributed the decline in profits to a “significant surplus” of eggs in the UK which depressed prices.

Cost of sales at Noble Foods also rose sharply owing to higher feed prices.