Finance

That’s why you pay so much for eggs now

A young adult looks anxiously at the grocery store shelf.

Image source: Getty Images

What happened

Egg prices rose by 59.9% from December 2021 to December 2022, according to the latest Consumer Price Index. Food prices as a whole rose by 10.4% over the same time period, compared to overall inflation of 6.5%.

The average price of a dozen eggs rose from $1.79 to $4.25. In areas with a high cost of living, such as California, New York, and Hawaii, a carton of eggs can cost $7 or more.

Although inflation has increased the cost of living, the dramatic rise in egg prices is primarily due to bird flu, commonly known as bird flu. This is the deadliest bird flu outbreak in US history, resulting in the deaths of nearly 58 million poultry since January 2023.

“Influenza is the single most important factor affecting egg prices,” Maro Ibarburu, a business analyst at Iowa State University’s Egg Industry Center, told The Washington Post. “If we get the epidemic under control, it will get better every month,” he added regarding egg prices.

So what

Eggs are a household staple, so this price increase affects many consumers. It’s especially hard on families going through a lot of eggs and shoppers on a tight budget, who could find themselves with much more expensive grocery bills. The fact that overall food costs have also increased only exacerbates the problem.

Costs also increased in restaurants and bakeries. Some had to raise prices and others closed completely. Not only could you pay more at the grocery store, but it could also be more expensive to eat out or grab a cookie from your local bakery.

Now what

Higher food costs strain people’s personal finances, because there is no way around them. Everyone needs to buy groceries, and it’s not easy to stop buying eggs if they’re something you use regularly. However, there are some smart ways to save on groceries:

  • Shop at the lowest prices. Many stores post their deals online, so you can see which stores are saving you money before you go anywhere.
  • Clip coupons (digital). If you’re not already using them, coupon apps make it easy to cut grocery costs.
  • Get a credit card for groceries. The best grocery credit cards offer 3% to 6% cash back at supermarkets.

There is hope that egg prices will fall this year. Until that happens, you can at least lower your grocery bill by shopping around, using coupons, and paying with a credit card.

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