Eggflation Scrambles the Nation

Published 9:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2023

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Through December, egg prices rose a whopping 49% over the past year. According to the latest data released from the Federal Reserve, the average cost of a dozen eggs in the U.S. is currently sitting at $4.25.

Why it matters: Food prices across the board are rising. The Agriculture Department’s most recent analysis shows that food-at-home (not dining out) costs for November 2022 are up 12% over the same time last year. Even still, eggs are an outlier. So, what’s the deal?

Dig deeper: There are numerous factors affecting the price of eggs, but two stand out:

  1. Flu season is hitting the birds. Hard. Avian flu has affected 47 states, with Iowa being the hardest hit with over 15.9 million birds affected. Across the state, America’s leading egg producer, millions of birds are being culled.
  2. Inflation is impacting the costs associated with raising hens and producing eggs. Animal feed, packaging, and labor are all making it more costly to get from the chicken to the egg. Or is it the other way around?

Bottom line: The USDA’s Egg Markets Overview for last week saw a slight easing in pricing, but producers are at the mercy of the avian bird flu. It is market forces, not nefarious poultry farmers that are driving prices higher, as some have suggested.

– Richard Harnett, Associate Manager, Communications and Strategy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce