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Egg prices are insanely high (but inflation isn’t actually the sole culprit)

Here are a few reasons why eggs are so darn expensive

If you routinely buy eggs, you’re probably lighter in the wallet than in past years. Egg prices have seen a major spike due to several contributing factors. The average price for one dozen eggs was $4.250 in December compared to $3.589 in November, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That number reached $5.30 in December. Here are a few reasons why everyone is experiencing the hike.

Avian flu

According to the CDC, since early 2022, more than “49 million birds in 46 states have either died as a result of bird flu virus infection or have been culled (killed) due to exposure to infected birds.” That’s a staggering number, one that has dramatically impacted egg prices due to the death of so many egg-laying hens. While the good news is that prices have dropped about 40% from their peak in December, eggs are still “more than triple what they were two years ago.”


While inflation is stabilizing in some areas of the country, it’s still high, making a lot of everyday items more expensive. “Just like with all the other items in the grocery store, there’s all this inflationary pressure, with interest rates, with oil, with feed prices, with raw materials, with packaging, cartoning, transportation. You have labor issues and costs associated with labor,” Brian Moscogiuri, a global trade strategist at Eggs Unlimited, told VOX News. And while the rate of egg price increases “ran slower than overall inflation during the 30-year period,” it doesn’t help our bank accounts at the moment.

Indeed, according to the U.S. inflation calculator, if you adjust the price for eggs in 1980 to 2021 dollars, they would cost $2.11 — which was more than the $1.67 eggs cost in 2021.

Possible price gouging?

Farm Action, a farmer-led advocacy group, believes the “real culprit” may be something more sinister. The group publicly announced a “collusive scheme” among the largest egg producers “to fix and gouge prices,” the organization said in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission.

Understanding the avian flu caused major shortages, the group believes manufacturers “extract egregious profits reaching as high as 40%,” according to the letter, asking FTC Chair Lina Khan for potential profiteering and “foul play.”

The results, for some, are less egg consumption. According to the USDA, consumer demand for eggs “fell to average for the first time since August of 2022 as resistance to record high prices in grocery outlets across the country grows.” Demand naturally falls after the holidays when baking season officially ends, but the drop given high prices made the decline even more severe.

While egg prices are showing signs of improvement, the perfect storm of inflation and avian flu may be tested yet again. With spring coming, wild birds will begin migrating once again, and the potential for infections will increase. We won’t know how the flu will show against 2022 numbers yet, but if it’s as high, we may continue to pay more for our favorite breakfast item.

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