Egg prices have increased by 60% in a year. Here’s why.

Inflation is falling, but prices for eggs and other groceries are still high


Inflation is falling, but prices for eggs and other groceries are still high

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the The high cost of eggs In the United States limits family budgets. Americans have in recent years increased the number of eggs they consume while decreasing their intake of beef and venison, according to data From the US Department of Agriculture.

Egg consumption has increased in part because more families are eating them as their main protein replacement, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Sharp. Tell CBS News. “Each of us eats nearly as many eggs as a hen can lay in a year,” she said.

As the demand for eggs soared, production in the United States decreased due to its persistence Avian or “bird” flu pandemic. Approximately 58 million birds have been infected with avian influenza as of January 6, USDA He said, making it the deadliest outbreak in US history. Affected birds must be slaughtered, which leads to reduced egg supplies and higher prices.

Egg prices in December were up 60% from a year earlier, according to the Consumer Price Index data Released Thursday. Across American cities, the average price for a dozen first-class eggs was $4.25 last month, according to Numbers From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

In some states, it can be difficult to find eggs on the shelves. But the overall egg supply is slowing because the total flock of laying hens is down only 5% from its normal size of about 320 million chickens. Farmers are working to replace their flocks as quickly as possible after an outbreak.

Sharp said prices likely won’t fall again until new chickens are born free of infection and grow to egg-laying age. The USDA reported that more than 300 flocks of farm-raised poultry had contracted the disease as of last Friday. data.

In New York, grocery store owner Jose Felipe said that rising egg prices have prompted many customers to change their spending habits.

“I’ve seen customers gravitate from buying organic eggs now to more conventional eggs, and now specifically, half a dozen. Prices have quadrupled in about six or seven months,” she said. She recently told Gina DeAngeles of CBS New York.

What is bird flu?

Avian influenza is transmitted by free-flying waterfowl, such as ducks, geese, and shorebirds, and infects chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quails, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl. In another major epidemic of the disease, it killed more than 50 million chickens and turkeys in 2014 and 2015, while causing $3.3 billion in economic losses, the USDA estimates. The agency is now looking for a possible vaccine against avian influenza.

Fortunately, public health risks are associated with avian influenza still lowAccording to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, it is recommended that all poultry and eggs be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F as a general food safety rule.

The cost of processed eggs — used in liquid or powder form in processed products including salad dressings, cake mix and potato chips — has also gone up, adding to inflationary pressures.

cooling inflation

Consumer Price Index – a closely watched measure of inflation – It rose 6.5% in December from the previous year. This was the smallest annual increase since October 2021, the Labor Department said mentioned Thursday continues the steady decline in price increases since it peaked at 9% in June last year. Lower prices for energy, commodities, and used cars offset increases in food and shelter.

But if eggs remain too expensive, Chicago resident Kelly Fisher said she’ll start to think more seriously about building a backyard chicken coop because everyone in her family eats eggs.

“We (along with the neighbors) are thinking of building a chicken coop behind our houses, so I hope in the end I don’t buy it and get my own eggs and I think the cost comes fairly,” said the 46-year-old public school teacher. While shopping at HarvesTime Foods on the north side of town. “For me, it’s more about environmental impact and trying to buy locally.”

Eggs are just one of a number of staples that will rise in price in 2022. Margarine costs in December, for example, were up 44% from a year ago, while butter was up 31%, according to CPI data.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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