Why are eggs so expensive now?
Grocery prices continued to soar in July despite slower inflation overall, and eggs were among the foods experiencing the biggest increases. The average price of a dozen large, Grade A eggs was $2.94 in July, up 38% from the same period last year at $1.64, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The price of eggs has been trending upward since the beginning of 2022, and egg experts said an avian influenza outbreak that has severely limited the supply of eggs was the leading cause of high prices.
The avian flu outbreak started almost six months ago and has cut the egg-laying industry’s production capacity by about 10%, said J.T. Dean, the president of Versova Management and Center Fresh Group, a major egg producer that manages multiple farms across four states, including Ohio and Iowa.
“The avian flu outbreak started almost six months ago and has cut the egg-laying industry’s production capacity by about 10%.”
The outbreak has affected egg producers nationwide, and has even sickened birds that aren’t raised on farms for human consumption, Dean said.
On top of that, many producers, including Dean’s company, have seen “a tremendous increase” in their operational costs because of inflation. Everything from labor to supplies to construction has become more expensive, he said.
The industry has been also moving in the direction of cage-free production in the past few years, which has added a layer of complexity to producers’ activities, Dean said.
In addition, Dean said the feed for his company’s chickens has been getting more expensive, especially the organic feed that eventually yields organic eggs.
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