By Helena Kelly Consumer Correspondent for Dailymail.Com
16:37 May 16, 2023, updated 16:41 May 16, 2023
- The wholesale price of eggs fell to $0.94, down from $5.46 last December
- Experts say this trend is due in part to fewer shoppers buying eggs
- This comes after headline inflation slowed for the tenth consecutive month in April
Analysts said egg prices have fallen to $0.94 per dozen, after reaching a peak of $5.46 last December.
Eggs have long been considered the ‘poster child’ for inflation after it jumped 30 percent in 2022 when highly pathogenic bird flu killed 58 million birds and crippled production.
But new numbers show that costs have dropped dramatically by 80 percent, in part because shoppers have stopped buying them because of the higher costs.
While a dozen eggs currently cost $0.94 on the wholesale market, analysts note that retail prices are still well above $1—though they’re also dropping.
Experts at Urner Barry, an independent price reporting agency that compiled the figures, added that the industry has managed to recover from last year’s crisis.
“While bird flu dominated the egg market in 2022, its absence dominated the market this year,” Karen Rispoli, senior egg market analyst at Urner Barry, told CNN.
The highly pathogenic avian influenza spread like wildfire throughout US poultry stocks last year and quickly became the deadliest outbreak in American history.
This led to a drop in the supply of laying hens by more than 5 percent between January and December last year.
The chaos led to supermarket shelves being emptied of all their eggs, with many customers struggling to get their hands on 12 eggs.
Discount chain Dollar Tree announced it would stop selling eggs because prices were too high.
But there have been concerns that producers are engaging in “price gouging”.
Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) — the largest producer of eggs in the United States — reported profit growth of more than 700 percent in the quarter ending Feb. 25.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is among US lawmakers calling for more clarity on why prices are so high.
Data from the USDA shows that in December there were 308 million chickens laying eggs for consumption, down from 328 million before the outbreak in 2021.
But the number has improved slightly and there are currently 314 million laying hens in the United States.
The crisis has also been mitigated by the fact that high prices are preventing shoppers from buying them – which has dampened demand.
In the four weeks through April 22, retail sales of eggs were down 4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, according to retail tracking service NIQ.
Amy Smith, vice president of consulting firm Advanced Economic Solutions, told CNN that when the crisis was at its peak, everyone and their brother had a story about what egg prices were doing.
She added that eggs have become “the poster child for what happens with inflation”.
The data comes after headline inflation slowed for the tenth consecutive month in April.
Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the annual inflation rate is now 4.9 percent – down from its peak of 9.1 percent in June 2022.
It is the first time the US has seen a rise of less than five percent in less than two years.
However, it is still well above the Fed’s target rate of 2%.
Official inflation figures showed that eggs are still 21.4 percent more expensive than they were a year ago.
The discrepancy between the figures is due to wholesale costs that have not yet been translated into finished prices.
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