May 25, 2022 - Economy

Egg prices could soar as much as 21% this year

Illustration of an egg timer with a dollar bill sign where the zero would be.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The price of eggs is expected to rise as much as 21% this year, up from previous estimates of 6%–7%, new government data out today shows.

Why it matters: Eggs are now expected to see the highest increase in price compared to all other staple food groups tracked.

The big picture: Egg prices are a unique reflection of our current economic environment.

  • Eggs are not only an ingredient in many other foods and meals, they’re also the product of other food sources.

State of play: A bird flu outbreak that began in January has killed about 6% of commercial egg-laying chickens in the U.S., and the disease is still spreading.

  • Chicken feed (like corn and soybean meal) and chicken treatment (think cage-free) make up the majority of the cost of an egg — and are also getting more expensive.
  • And of course all the other factors contributing to overall inflation — including transportation costs due to fuel and labor shortages — are helping drive prices too.

By the numbers: The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts egg prices will rise between 19.5% and 20.5% this year.

  • Poultry prices are expected to increase between 8.5% and 9.5%.

Flashback: The average price of a dozen large, grade A eggs was $2.52 in April and $2.05 in March, compared to about $1.40 in the spring of 2019.

What to watch: The bird flu outbreak is expected to shrink turkey production from last year.

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