Skip to main content

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.”

Inflation

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Julie Scagell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
5 things you should always buy at Costco (and 4 you really shouldn’t)
Person grocery shopping with a Costco membership

We all love shopping at Costco. From the food court to the extra benefits — like the tire center, vision center, and pharmacy — there are plenty of hidden perks of shopping at Costco. But this doesn’t mean you should buy everything there. Here are five things you should definitely put on your Costco shopping list — and four you really shouldn’t.

What you should buy at Costco
Rotisserie chicken
Do we even have to say this one? It’s a ready-to-go meal for the whole family. It costs $5. This isn’t something we should have to talk you into. (You should, however, check out Costco’s other prepared foods and pre-made meals. They’re tasty too, and you can find some good deals.)
Maple syrup
Is there anything better than fluffy, warm pancakes with real maple syrup? Too many syrup options out there today are made with the artificial stuff — highly processed corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. And when you do manage to find the real deal, it’s pretty expensive. Kirkland’s brand is made with real maple syrup, the kind that comes from the sap of maple trees — and it’s got that signature Costco price. And, according to Epicurious, it holds its own in the flavor department.
Gift cards
Gift cards theoretically should be the same price everywhere — after all, you’re essentially just buying money to spend at another store, right? But at Costco, you can often get them at discounted prices. So be sure to stock up for those last-minute gifts for friends and family. (Or for yourself. We don’t judge.)
Vodka
There’s been a persistent rumor for years that Kirkland-branded vodka is actually produced by Grey Goose. And while those claims have been denied, it kind of doesn’t matter: If you can get a bottle that tastes like it could be high-end vodka to alcohol enthusiasts and taste testers all over, then that’s definitely a brand worth spending $20 on.
Over-the-counter medications
If you and members of your household have to take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or allergy pills regularly, buying in bulk makes a lot of sense. You’ll likely go through the bottle before it expires, will spend a fraction of the price, and will never be caught without a little relief again. Keep a smaller bottle in your bag (or wherever’s convenient for you) that you refill from the Costco bottle and you’re good to go.

Read more
Revealed: How much home renovation projects actually cost
Updated kitchen with tile backsplash

Home renovation projects are more popular and more expensive than ever. That's the key takeaway from the 11th annual Houzz & Home study, which surveyed nearly 70,000 respondents in the U.S. on their remodeling plans and budgets. 55 percent of respondents renovated their home last year (up from 53% in 2020 and 54% in the two previous years) and 55% plan to renovate this year. 46 percent of respondents had plans to decorate this year.

What are the most popular home remodeling projects – and how much are homeowners really spending? Read on to find out.

Read more
Reality check: This is where Americans are actually moving
where americans are moving day

We’ve all heard it: With the move to remote work during the pandemic — and people’s increasing desire to continue working from home — more and more people have been leaving big cities with high costs of living in favor of smaller cities, suburbs, and country homes where they can get more bang for their buck when buying a home (or, for those leaving cities like San Francisco and New York, where they’re able to afford a home at all). So much about our lives changed during the pandemic, but have New Yorkers really headed to the Sun Belt in droves?

As it turns out… not so much. Certainly, there are some people opting out of San Francisco or New York in favor of Texas or Arizona, but according to a recent report from OJO Labs, an online real estate site and personal finance tool, the vast majority of would-be buyers (75%) are looking a lot closer to home.

Read more