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Why Are Egg Prices Exploding?

A grocery store in Cheverly, Md., posts a sign to apologize for the increased price of their eggs, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
A grocery store in Cheverly, Md., posts a sign to apologize for the increased price of their eggs, Jan. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Although inflation has been slowing down a little bit, if you've been to the grocery store, you know some food prices have still been going up – in some cases, way up.

The cost of a dozen eggs more than doubled in the last year. The national average price for a dozen eggs hit $3.59 in November, up from $1.72 a year earlier. Prices continued to climb in December, hitting $4.25, and they've only gone higher in January. 

Among the reasons for the massive spike is a lingering bird flu outbreak, along with soaring feed, fuel, and labor costs.

“Bird flu is not the only factor, but in my view it’s the main driver of what we’re experiencing at the moment,” Purdue University agricultural economist Jayson Lusk said.

Emily Metz, American Egg Board President, said, "So I think across the board, people are experiencing sticker shock and I guess have not been immune to sort of the factors at play that have really factored into the increased price right now, you know, inflation, supply chain challenges. And of course, we are dealing with some bird flu, which is affecting prices as well."

Egg prices are up significantly more than other foods because egg farmers were hit harder by the bird flu. More than 43 million of the 58 million birds that had to be slaughtered over the past year to control the spread of bird flu were egg-laying chickens.

Despite the sharp rise in prices, many people are sticking with eggs.

Kelly Fischer, a Chicago resident, said, "I think just comparatively to other forms of protein, I mean, they're, they're quick to make. I can put them in my kids' lunches. They both eat hard-boiled eggs. So that's a big factor for me. And everybody in my family eats them. So that's why I continue to buy."

Jakob Werner, another Chicago resident, said, "For a while, I just stopped eating eggs because it got more expensive. But since they're my favorite food, I came back to them in the end." 

But there is some good news on the horizon. Analysts believe egg prices will drop in the weeks ahead. One reason is that demand drops off after the holidays because people aren't baking as much.

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