Why Do Eggs Cost So Much These Days?
Attentive shoppers may have noticed that in recent weeks the price of a carton of eggs has gone up drastically. In fact, over the past month egg prices have nearly doubled, according to Mr. Greens owner Shlomie Klein.
Klein told CrownHeights.info that the price of a carton of eggs went up from $1.31 one month ago to its current price of $2.17. Organic eggs have gone up over a similar time span from $2.30 to $2.90.
The reason for this sudden increase is twofold, according to industry analysts.
The first is surging demand:
“It has never been more popular as a fast-food-restaurant breakfast staple, and its appeal has broadened far beyond the day’s first meal,” writes the AP.
“A lot of it has to do with quick-service restaurants offering breakfast now, and many of them include egg whites and some whole eggs in their breakfasts,” said Maro Ibarburu, associate scientist and business analyst at the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University.
Eggs have gotten an additional boost from chefs using them in menu items not normally associated with eggs. The website restaurant.com predicted in January that 2014 would be the year of the egg when it surveyed menus across the U.S. and found egg-topped burgers and pizza. Chefs also worked them into salads and stir-fry dishes.
Cold weather drives more egg demand as more families choose a hot breakfast, said Rick Brown, senior vice president at Urner Barry, which provides analysis and information for the protein commodity markets. Egg purchases peak just before the holidays as baking and home cooking boost demand even further, Brown said.
U.S. Department of Agriculture figures showed in a Nov. 17 report that use has grown to 261 eggs per capita, up 4 percent from 250 in 2011. The figure is expected to grow to nearly 266 eggs per capita next year.
The second cause for the surging price is a little-known law recently passed in California, the most populous state in the U.S., requiring that egg-laying chickens be given more room to roam.
Writes the AP:
The demand spike comes as producers are beginning to prepare for the implementation of a new California law that requires chickens to have more space in which to move. Producers selling eggs in the shell to California must comply with the law, which for many means reducing flocks so each chicken has more room. Increasing demand and potentially smaller flocks are helping to drive record prices.
As a result of these factors, egg prices have broken records each day for the past 10 days, according to data released by Urner Barry.
The silver lining of these hefty prices is that egg producers are increasing output at breakneck pace, which in the future should adequately meet demand and bring egg prices back into line.