Egg Prices Are Finally, Really, Truly Coming Down

Chicken populations are finally recovering from the deadly avian flu.

Eggs are one of nature's perfect foods. They're delicious, versatile, nutritious, and now, they're finally going to be affordable again. No, really. While we saw a minor decline in egg prices after their peak in December 2022, they're finally at a point where Americans might finally feel comfortable purchasing them regularly and cooking with them freely once again. NPR has the story.

Why are egg prices getting lower?

In short, the extraordinarily devastating outbreak of avian flu last year, which led to the death of over 58 million birds, is under better control at long last. This strain was remarkable in that it affected wild bird populations as well as those on farms, meaning whenever wild birds came into contact with a domestic flock, the virus spread even further. The sick birds required farmers to cull entire populations to keep the epidemic under control.

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Since the virus has leveled off, it's taken months for the unaffected hens to mature to egg-laying age.

How much do eggs cost right now?

On my most recent trip to pick up eggs, they were on sale for a remarkable $1.99 per dozen at my local grocery store. This means I didn't feel the least bit guilty making a big batch of Japanese egg salad last night (the not-so-secret ingredient is Kewpie mayo).

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NPR reports that the current wholesale price of eggs is anywhere between $0.99 to $1.39 per dozen. Our grocery store's generic eggs proved to be the cheapest ones, while other national brands were still priced anywhere from $5 on up.

Generally, the supply appears to have replenished, and that's a major factor influencing price. Remember when grocery store aisles were occasionally barren of eggs during the bird flu outbreak last year? That's no longer an issue, because the chicken population is now recovering at a steady clip.

Will egg prices fully return to normal?

Just like every other industry, egg prices are affected by inflation and labor shortages. Companies are also pricing their products in a way so that they can recoup lost earnings in the past few months—if not for longer beyond that. It's not likely that we'll see 2021 prices for some time, but at least this picnic season staple will no longer be such a hit to our bank account.

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