CONSUMER

When will egg prices start to drop?

Jan 9, 2023, 6:50 PM | Updated: Jan 10, 2023, 2:16 pm

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is closely monitoring the price of eggs and expects that prices will level off and fall once supply rebounds.

“Nationwide, egg prices as of Dec. 21 were up about 205% compared to 2021,” said department spokesperson Bailee Woolstenhulme.

The rapid price increase can be blamed on shortages caused by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak.

“Avian influenza has about a 90% mortality rate with all birds,” Woolstenhulme explained.

Other factors contributing to the price jump include rising food and energy costs for farmers.

“When those prices start to go up, it’s very shocking and hard for a lot of families that may be struggling financially,” she said.

The 2022 outbreak of Avian Influenza started around February in the US and lasted throughout the year resulting in the loss of about 43 million egg-laying hens.

The result was egg prices soaring above $5 per dozen in December compared to under $2 per dozen a year earlier, CNN Wire reported.

“It caused a depletion of a lot of laying hens in certain areas of the country,” said David Frame, a poultry specialist and veterinarian with Utah State University. “We’ve never seen anything quite like this in the United States before, and it is affecting not only the egg production but also the mainly the turkey production.”

At the same time that the supply of eggs was down, demand remained high for the vital—and normally cheaper—source of protein. Consumers usually purchase more eggs around the holiday for extra baking and cooking at home.

“Consumer demand for shell eggs continues to slowly retreat from its holiday levels but remains at a higher level entering the New Year than was experienced in 2022,” said the USDA’s Eggs Market Overview report from Jan. 6.

The overview said that the recent record-high egg prices have begun to soften, but it will take time before consumers see that in the grocery store.

Woolstenhulme and Frame told KSL that egg producers across the country are recovering after the avian flu and that prices should come down as egg inventory increases.

“We’re also hoping that we won’t see an increase in avian flu cases in 2023,” Woolstenhulme said. “That will play a major factor into whether or not we have egg availability or shortages in 2023.”

“Prices are going down slowly but will probably remain high well into the second quarter of this year before we see any relief,” Frame added.

Contributing: CNN Wire

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When will egg prices start to drop?