Egg Prices Are Through The Roof For The Third Time This Year

Most Americans have been concerned about their pocketbooks for the last full year, and even longer if we factor in the considerable amount of panic buying during the height of the pandemic. Inflation may have peaked in June at 9.1%, but you probably haven't seen much price relief at the grocery store since.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the Consumer Price Index of food-at-home rose 13.5% over the last 12 months. As the prices of animal protein like ground beef and chicken reach substantial highs, more people may be looking to eggs as a way to fulfill their daily protein intake. Yet eggs haven't been safeguarded from inflation, either, and it's not just the labor and energy costs that are affecting consumer prices.

The highly pathogenic Avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 first wreaked havoc on the U.S. in 2014, but then abruptly ended in June 2015 (via USDA). According to the World Health Organization, HPAI didn't return again until April of this year, yet the spread in both wild and domestic birds has been way more significant than the 2014 strain, taking the lives of more than 36 million domestic birds so far in 2022 (per Vox). The rise in production and energy costs mixed with inflation, and the increased threat of HPAI has caused egg prices to skyrocket yet again.

The cost of eggs hit a new record high

As more people conclude that eggs are the "perfect protein," egg production in the U.S. has slowed. According to the USDA, egg output is 3% lower than 2021's numbers, totaling 8.82 billion in April. With production in mind, Trading Economics presents a sliding graph of the cost of eggs over the last year and the visual stats are quite shocking. The price of eggs jumped from $1.26 to $2.84 from March to April then rose significantly again in July to $3.23 per dozen.

Fortune claims the first rise in egg costs in April was due to the rise of HPAI while the price hike from June to July is largely due to inflationary costs (via U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Food Business News shines the spotlight on the most recent cost increase, stating one 12-pack of Grade A large eggs costs roughly $4.18 per dozen. While the five-year average may come out to $1.45, BLS does report a price increase of 15% from June to August. Statistics regarding September and October have yet to be officially documented. Holidays are on the way and with egg production lower than in years past (and the unknown of HPAI still resting in the hands of mother nature), the future cost of eggs remains a shaky prediction at best.