Egg prices continue to rise, putting more pressure on consumer wallets.
According to retail data firm Datasembly, which collects real-time data from more than 200 retailers in North America, including Walmart, Kroger and Target, egg prices rose the most in December in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
According to the retailer, the 12-egg cartoon grew more than 64% in all the states mentioned above. That compares to an 18% increase in states like Oregon, California and Washington, according to the data.
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According to the Consumer Price Index, the prices of food products in November increased by 12% compared to a year ago. However, egg prices outperformed the overall index, rising 49.1% from a year ago, the highest year-on-year increase of all food categories.
The CPI figures for December, which will be released on Thursday, will give more information about the high price of eggs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of a lot of Grade A eggs in November was $3.59. According to the Labor Department, the average price of the same cartoon a year ago was $1.72.
The increase in costs is attributed to higher labor, fuel and feed costs and a reoccurrence of avian flu, which halted production.
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Over the past year, egg farmers suffered the most from bird flu, which affected 58 million birds. More than 43 million of these birds killed to fight the virus were egg-laying hens.
“Recurring HPAI [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza] Outbreaks continued to disrupt normal production and marketing patterns into November, adversely affecting the export business, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported last week.
In its report, the USDA said record high egg prices are beginning to moderate, although “it will take some time before this is reflected in the dairy output.”
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Cal-Maine Foods, the largest U.S. producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs, said last month it was closely monitoring the current outbreak of HPAI, which was first detected in commercial flocks in the U.S. in February 2022.
“The current HPAI outbreak has surpassed the previous 2014-2015 outbreak in terms of the number of chickens affected in the United States, and HPAI continues to spread in wild bird populations in the United States and abroad,” the company said in a press release.
Cal-Maine noted that as of December 28, 2022, none of its owned or contracted manufacturing facilities had positive HPAI tests.
“The company believes that the HPAI outbreak will continue to put downward pressure on total egg supply, and the duration of these effects will depend in part on the timing of replenishment of the U.S. layer hen flock,” Cal-Maine said.
The company reported record quarterly sales for the second fiscal quarter ending November 26, 2022, up 110% to $801.7 million.
Net income was $198.6 million.
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For now, “eggs remain a competitively priced protein for other animal proteins.” USDA said.
This comes at a time when demand for the product remains high.
“As the new year approaches, several consumers are looking to change their dietary choices to support freshly made healthy lifestyle resolutions, and eggs remain a popular choice,” the agency said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.