The Real Reason Why Egg Prices Are So High – It’s Not Just Inflation That’s Causing the High Costs

Sticker shock is a real thing and it’s something millions of Americans are experiencing as egg prices continue to rise. For something that’s a staple on just about any grocery list and any recipe, seeing egg prices double – and more than triple in some areas – has many American families wondering what gives. 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the national average retail price for a dozen eggs is $3.59 right now – compared to $1.72 a year ago. In some states, those numbers are even more egregious – the average price for a dozen eggs in California is $7.37, compared to $2.35 in 2021.

Many people are quick to blame inflation for the rising egg prices and while it’s certainly part of the problem, it’s nowhere near the only factor contributing to the headache. Emily Metz – President and CEO of the American Egg Board – explained the ‘several factors’ in play during an interview with TODAY

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Metz explains that, while inflation does play a role and supply chain challenges will always complicate things, the primary problem egg farmers have right now is a ‘devastating’ bird flu. Experts are calling it the deadliest avian flu outbreak in history as more than 50 million birds reportedly died in the US in 2022.

“The good news is that our farms are recovering quickly. In fact, most of the egg farms that were affected by bird flu have recovered and are back to producing eggs,” says Metz in an attempt to ease the pain that many egg lovers are feeling right now. Egg prices won’t recover right away, but they will eventually.

For the time being, Americans are faced with a difficult decision when filling out their grocery lists and planning out their meals for the week – to pay absurd prices for eggs or to eat meals that don’t require eggs. It might seem like an easy decision, but that’s before you realize how common eggs are in recipes.

One mother in Montana, Jessica Martin, gives herself a limit on what she’s comfortable paying for eggs – her limit is $4 for a dozen. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, the cheapest eggs available at her local grocery store cost north of $5.00 and she can’t even find any half-dozen cartons. 

Egg Prices Aren’t Just Hurting Households

While most people can relate to what Jessica Martin is going through, only a select few can relate to what Taki Kastansis is experiencing – being the owner of an egg-centric restaurant chain called Yolk. Where he used to pay around $18 for a case of eggs, he was paying north of $70 for a case and it isn’t improving.

As a result, Kastansis was forced to remove certain items from his menu – taking away from what makes his restaurant special and taking away from his guest’s experience. Unfortunately, there’s nothing he can do about it and, frankly, nothing anyone can do while egg farmers and distributors continue to recover. 

And while some reports suggest egg prices are finally starting to trend downwards, customers shouldn’t expect them to return to normal for quite some time. That’s a testament to just how bad those prices have gotten in recent months, but also a testament to the enormous amount of work needed to fully recover. 

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With that said, Americans aren’t completely lost right now – they do have options. Buying in bulk can help you save a little bit of money, if you’re not willing to put a temporary end to your egg-eating habits. Of course, egg substitutes are another great option when eggs are either too expensive or not available. 

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