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Why you’re paying more for eggs

If you eat eggs as much as I do, you’ve likely noticed the price of eggs has been going up significantly. Even if you don’t purchase pricier local eggs you’re still paying more at the grocery store. In my neck of the woods local eggs tend to hover around $4.00 a dozen, in the grocery store they’re now about $3.00 a dozen.

When did this happen? According to Shayle Shagam, the Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Analyst for
the USDA, retail egg prices peaked in June to hit their highest mark since the 1980’s, jumping to a shocking $2.57. And, he warns, they might spike again in the very near future.

So what in the world is going on? The problem started with outbreaks of avian flu in the American poultry population in December of 2014. Farmers were forced to slaughter more than 44 million chickens and turkeys, and discard eggs by the millions: Egg production this year is expected to be down by 341 million dozen, a full 4 percent less than last year.

It’s estimated that egg production won’t be back to normal levels until sometime in the second quarter of 2016.  The retail price of eggs is up by 32 percent nationwide and even the wholesale price has gone up 75%.

The good news is that there hasn’t been an avian flu outbreak since mid-June. The bad news? Fall baking season is coming so demand for eggs will spike. Historically, egg prices tend to peak in the fourth quarter. Additionally, the wholesale price could bump up 12 percent by year’s end—which may be reflected in the price you pay at the store.

So what is the solution? Comparison shop if you have a farmer’s market; the eggs are often of higher quality anyways. Read here about the benefits of local eggs.