Cal-Maine Foods has seen third-quarter profits fell 46%, on lower egg prices and a decline in demand from the foodservice industry and restaurants due to the economic downturn.

The company posted the figures today (30 March), a set of numbers affected by a recession that has seen consumers increasingly eating at home.

“Egg prices were lower compared with the year earlier period, which were at record high levels. Egg demand at retail stores was very good. However, food service and restaurant volumes were reduced because of the slowdown in the economy and fewer consumers eating away from home,” said chairman and CEO Fred Adams.

The egg producer earned US$30.8m for the three-month period ended 28 February. That compares with $57.2m in the same quarter a year earlier.

Sales fell 3% in the third quarter to $270m, down from $278m.

For the first nine months, net sales increased to $715.2m, up from $680.3m last year. However, net income fell to $69.2m, compared with $115.3m for the year-earlier period.

“For the year ahead, we expect to see egg supply balanced with demand. Feed costs will continue to be relatively high and volatile,” Adams warned.