When will the price of eggs drop?
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Egg prices are coming down, but the real savings won’t show up at the grocery store for a while.
Eggs have been expensive all year, largely due to a nationwide bird flu outbreak, supply chain challenges and high feed costs. According to Rodney Holcomb, a professor of agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University, bird flu will infect about 10% of laying hens in 2022.
“It’s been a very bad storm — not a great storm, but a very bad storm — high energy prices, high feed prices and bird flu,” Holcomb said. “This has led to a huge price swing that we haven’t seen since the bird flu of 2015, and it’s gotten worse.”
The latest consumer data shows that over a dozen eggs were 49% more expensive on average in November 2022 compared to the same period last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s egg market snapshot released over the weekend showed more eggs shipped last week – up 11% – and future deliveries up 14%. More inventory helps lower prices for buyers.
Midwest wholesale prices for large eggs delivered to warehouses recently fell $0.13 to $5.17 per $10.
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Retail prices lag behind wholesale prices, Holcomb says, so it takes time for in-store prices to drop. Moreover, it will take time to recover from the massive damage caused by bird flu.
“Unlike broilers, which arrive with new chicks and after about 6 weeks they are fully matured, processed and ready to eat, laying hens take months to reach their egg-laying potential,” explained Holcomb. It can take up to 10 months for a chicken to fully mature, making it difficult for producers to return.
Consumer demand for eggs continues to decline from holiday levels and that will also help prices, but it will still be higher at the start of the new year than in 2022.
Retailers are currently trying to replenish inventory to normal operating levels and it may be months before the prices egg buyers are used to paying. Even these prices will not stay the same as inflation continues to affect the cost of food.
“Hang on wood, if we’re not going to have another bird flu outbreak like last year, we’re going to have to see a drop in egg prices — not a normal or acceptable price — maybe a ‘price’ inflation-driven ‘new normal,'” Holcomb said.
The grocery staple struggled at the box office for much of last year, with the average price of a dozen eggs above $3 for the second time in history.
Imports of shell eggs and egg products hit their highest level since June 2017 as egg producers turn to overseas sources to fill domestic inventory shortages. Eggs come mainly from Turkey.
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