The price for a dozen eggs has dramatically decreased in recent months after hitting record highs in January.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent numbers put wholesale price averages between $1 and $1.40 across the country, down from $5.46.
- The Department of Labor reports retail prices dropped from $4.82 per carton in January to $3.27 in April. Most major retailers are reporting prices below $2 as of June 4, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- As we previously reported, some regions of the country saw empty shelves or even higher prices, with California ($6.72) and New York City ($8.79) reporting some of the highest prices per carton.
Why It’s News
Amid inflation and rising food prices, the price of a carton of eggs hit record highs due to an outbreak of avian flu, causing a shortage of eggs, with inventories declining 29%. Wholesale prices surged to a national average of $5.46 per carton late last year, CNN Business reports.
The death of 58 million egg-laying chickens was a massive setback for the supply chain, which was already creating greater demand for eggs due to increased prices for other protein sources. Six months later, the market has successfully corrected the problem. The population of birds has increased by 5% in the past six months, thanks in part to increased production.
However, supply chains may have overcorrected for the shortage. Reduced demand due to seasonal purchasing trends has also helped stores flood with increased stocks. Supermarkets may be stuck with an overabundance of eggs and be forced to run sales to reduce stock. The supermarket chain Tops has tells The Wall Street Journal that it is already planning to reduce retail prices of eggs down to $1.29.
It remains to be seen how long different regions of the country will continue to face inflated egg prices. The industry continues to face allegations of price gauging from politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who argue that the 700% increase in profits during the winter was the primary reason for increased food prices.
“Just because wholesale prices go lower, it doesn’t necessarily mean retailers will lower their prices. So the consumer is still subject to a higher price point. And it’ll take a while for that to get shaken out,” CoBank economist Brian Earnest tells CNN.
As we previously reported, the rise in egg prices forced the market to accommodate higher egg prices and resulted in high sales of other high-protein replacements.