The chicken coop blew up: Egg prices rose more than 30% this year as inflation and the devastating avian flu that killed 40 MILLION chickens shook the market
- Egg prices have soared to record highs as US supply was rocked this year by a significant bird flu outbreak that killed 58 million birds
- Grocers have seen wholesale egg prices rise over the past nine weeks and are looking for ways to keep prices competitive
- Some in the US have turned to expiration-dated foods to cope with rising grocery prices
Egg prices soared to record highs this year, driven primarily by inflation and the long-standing avian flu that hampered bird supplies in all 50 US states this year.
More than 40 million egg-laying chickens died during the outbreak, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Wholesale prices of large eggs from the Midwest rose to as much as $5.36 in December, according to market research firm Urner Barry.
Retail egg prices have risen more than any other grocery item, rising more than 30% from January to early December. Egg prices have risen faster than general food and beverage price spikes, putting a heavy burden on the pocketbooks of American families.
Egg prices have risen faster than general food and beverage price spikes, putting daily groceries at a premium on American families’ pockets
A significant wave of avian flu has wiped out about 58 million birds in the US this year
The highly contagious bird flu spread like wildfire through the U.S. poultry population this year, killing about 58 million birds — the deadliest outbreak in U.S. history, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Some entire flocks of poultry are killed after one infection is confirmed to try to limit the rapid spread of the disease.
Due to the more than 40 million dead birds, the supply of egg-laying chickens between January and December of this year fell by more than 5 percent to about 308 million.
The bird flu outbreak is mainly blamed on wild birds bringing the virus with them as they migrate across the country.
Despite the extermination of the birds, a shortage of eggs remains a way out. Egg supplies have remained even more stable this year than during the last major avian flu outbreak in the US in 2015, according to American Egg Board CEO Emily Metz.
Although the 2015 outbreak ended in June, this year’s cases continued to emerge in the fall and may continue.
“All signs are that the industry will have to deal with this,” Metz told The Journal. “We continue to manage it and improve how we manage it.”
To prevent the possible spread of the highly contagious disease, several entire flocks of poultry have been killed when a single case of avian flu was detected
Egg prices increased by 30% between January and December this year
More than 40 million egg-laying hens have died during the current bird flu outbreak
Meanwhile, the price of eggs has risen over the past nine weeks as demand increases with the baking season and hotter breakfasts become the norm during the colder months.
The director of sales and marketing at Morton Williams Supermarkets in New York said, “Every week you get a quote for eggs, they keep getting more and more.”
Some supermarkets have opted to sell more organic eggs, which are sometimes cheaper than typical varieties – though consumer demand has reportedly remained steady, despite rising prices.
Some grocers have decided to sacrifice some profit to maintain a steady customer base. In some stores, eggs are selling slightly above cost, while wholesale prices continue to rise.
Grocery prices remain high across the board this year due to inflationary factors, including higher labor costs, and increasingly expensive ingredients and logistics.