“The [avian] flu is the most important factor affecting egg prices.”
Business analyst at Iowa State University's Egg Industry Center, Maro Ibarburu, on the high cost of eggs in the U.S.
jan 12, 2023
Why It Matters: According to the latest government data, the national average for one dozen eggs was $4.25 in December; one year prior, the national average for one dozen eggs was $1.79. Egg prices rose to historic highs before the December holidays, "when egg demand is at its highest," The Washington Post explains. And although the price of eggs has been slightly decreasing in recent weeks, consumers are still beginning 2023 experiencing higher than average egg costs.
Why? The avian (bird) flu, combined with increased labor and fuel costs. Over the past year, a majority of the birds euthanized due to the avian flu were egg-laying chickens (43 million out of 58 million!). While Ibarburu and many experts say the avian flu is the most significant factor affecting egg prices, CEO and president of the American Egg Board trade group says, "When you're looking at fuel costs go up, and you're looking at feed costs go up as much as 60%, labor costs, packaging costs – all of that ... those are much bigger factors than bird flu for sure."
Looking Ahead: This depends on how the avian flu is contained, some experts say; in the immediate future, prices are expected to remain high. Educator at the University of Minnesota Extension who focuses on poultry, Abby Schuft, says of avian flu, "It's sort of like our covid. Potentially, the major impact is probably done, but it's likely to mutate, linger, and we'll have to learn how to manage it."
Egg prices haven't come down with inflation. Here's why. (The Washington Post)
Soaring US egg prices put pressure on consumers, businesses (The Associated Press)