The Real Reason Behind High Prices of Eggs


The prices of eggs are twice as much compared to last year, and the inflation increase in 2022 is not the only one to blame.

One dozen eggs in the U.S. cost families $4.25, a price that has doubled since last year. The median price in 2022 was only $1.78.

In a news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the prices of eggs have surged to 59 percent in the last month of 2022. It was labeled as “the highest year over year rise in prices among food items.”

Though increased inflation in 2022 has contributed to the high price, it isn’t the ultimate reason.

Avian Flu is the major reason. This disease has wreaked havoc on chicken farmers and has affected 57 million chickens.

Avian Influenza Virus

“The flu is the most important factor affecting egg prices. We need to see if more birds are affected by influenza. In the event we get the outbreak under control, it will be better every month,” declared a business analyst at the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University, Maro Ibarburu, in The Washington Post interview.

In California and some states, the prices of eggs are as high as $7 a dozen. This is because of the state law that went into effect last year, requiring egg producers to raise cage-free hens. Unfortunately, Avian Flu has already killed 4 million cage-free hens creating a shortage against the demand.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the spread of the Avian Influenza Virus started in the early months of 2022. It hit Iowa, the largest egg producer in the U.S., in February. It then approached a record number of infected birds and poultry by November.

It is reported to have more birds and poultry affected compared to the 2015 outbreak. There are already 57 million affected across 47 states, while there were only 50 million in 2021, and only across 21 states, according to USDA data.

Moreover, it affects more than 100 species of birds and poultry and can spread quickly, with a 90 to 100 percent mortality rate in chickens.

Experts say that Avian Influenza Virus does occur from time to time. It has caused illness in North America while it has caused human death in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific.

Read Also: Costco Eggs Prices

Prices expected to drop

Aside from the bird flu and inflation, the sudden rise in egg prices also pinpoints consumers’ increase in egg consumption.

According to a report from the USDA, there was a 17 percent increase in egg consumption between 2012 and 2021. It even outpaced the consumption of red meats.

Egg consumption was reported to be at its peak when the holiday began last year, and now that it is over, egg consumption has dropped, which may cause a drop in the price too. The USDA further explained that egg producers will now have more time to stock up and focus on how to solve the problem with the flu before the next holiday demand comes in April, Forbes reported.

In the meantime, experts are suggesting cheaper options – organic or cage-free.

Top U.S. wholesale egg producer Cal-Maine Foods reported that prices of conventional eggs went from $1.15 in 2021 to $2.88 in 2022. Especially eggs, the organic and cage-free ones went from $1.81 in 2021 to only $2.37 in 2022.

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