Egg prices are on the rise once more. Here's why

A buyer retailers for eggs in a Kroger grocery retailer in Houston, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Egg prices are on the rise once more, after having fallen from record highs in 2023.

Average egg prices jumped 8.9% from November to December, following a 2.2% rise the prior month, in response to the consumer price index. The U.S. Department of Labor adjusts these numbers to account for seasonal patterns.

December’s egg value transfer was the largest relative to different objects in the CPI basket, which measures prices of all the things from live performance tickets to furnishings, electrical energy and prescribed drugs. For comparability, the total CPI basket rose 0.3% throughout the month.

Bird flu ‘pops again up once more’

Matthew Hatcher | Afp | Getty Images

A dozen grade A, massive eggs cost $2.51 in December, nonetheless nicely under final yr’s peak at $4.82 in January 2023. At the time of that early 2023 excessive, prices had greater than doubled in lower than a yr.

That improve was largely because of a historic outbreak of extremely pathogenic avian influenza, also called chook flu, in response to agricultural economists.

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The virus is extraordinarily contagious and deadly amongst birds, together with egg-laying hens. The outbreak killed tens of thousands and thousands of birds, contributing to an egg scarcity that coincided with peak shopper demand heading into the winter vacation season, economists stated.

After having subsided for many of 2023, chook flu reappeared amongst industrial U.S. table-egg flocks in early November and has since been detected in a number of states, in response to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

“Just when evidently maybe it is behind us, it pops again up once more … after a roughly 10-month hiatus,” stated Karyn Rispoli, head of egg market protection at Urner Barry, a market analysis agency.

More than 14 million egg-laying chickens died in November and December because of avian flu, in response to USDA information. There are greater than 368 million egg-laying chickens in the U.S., the USDA stated.

That loss has induced wholesale prices to extend, although “not almost to the similar diploma” as at the finish of 2022 into 2023, Rispoli stated.

At the time, a farm group alleged that value gouging and profiteering amongst main egg suppliers additionally drove excessive prices in 2022, although some economists had been skeptical that issue was at play.

Strong shopper demand may additionally be an element

Some of the improve customers noticed in December was additionally seemingly attributable to the typical seasonal patterns of demand, which tends to spike round the winter holidays and due to this fact will increase shelf prices, stated Brian Moscogiuri, international commerce strategist at Eggs Unlimited, an egg provider.

Prices have elevated increased than most anticipated, nevertheless, although “nowhere close to the shock markets” in 2022, Moscogiuri stated.

The extent to which chook flu could proceed to unfold and have an effect on egg provide — and due to this fact prices — going ahead is unclear, economists stated.

“It’s exhausting to foretell when a virus goes to current itself and the way impactful that might and shall be,” stated Amy Smith, vice chairman at Advanced Economic Solutions.

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