Why are eggs so expensive?

Bird flu is the driving factor behind rising egg prices.

Eggs are outta control, with prices up a whopping 49% this year.

In perspective: Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the average US price of a dozen large, Grade A eggs was ~$3.59 in November. Last November, you would’ve paid ~$1.72.

Why?

There are a few compounding factors scrambling up prices, but the biggest is bird flu.

You can eat an egg laid by a hen with bird flu, but most chickens will die if infected. This year, 57.7m+ poultry birds have been infected, the worst outbreak in US history.

Additionally:

  • The cost of chicken feed is up.
  • People still eat eggs when prices rise, driving the prices even higher, Daniel Sumner, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Davis, told Marketplace.

BTW, if you look back at that BLS data, you’ll find egg prices also spiked in 2015. Why? Again, bird flu.

It’s not just the US

For example:

  • In Britain, egg prices are up due to bird flu, plus the war in Ukraine driving up energy and chicken feed prices. Farmers, who say they lose money on egg production, are cutting back or quitting.
  • In Japan, wholesale egg prices are up 31% YoY due to rising chicken feed costs and bird flu.

Meanwhile…

… chicken meat prices — up 14.5% YoY in October due to decreased supply and increased demand — are starting to fall.

Bird flu is less likely to impact broilers (birds used for meat) than layers (birds used for eggs) for one simple, if not morbid reason: they don’t live as long.

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