Egg prices continue to soar, adding even more pressure to consumers’ wallets.
In December, egg prices climbed the most in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, according to retail data firm Datasembly, which collects real-time data from more than 200 retailers in North America. North, including Walmart, Kroger and Target.
A 12-egg cartoon rose more than 64% in all of the aforementioned states, according to the retail data firm. That compares to the 18% increase seen in states such as Oregon, California and Washington, the data shows.
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In November, grocery store prices rose 12% from a year ago, according to the Consumer Price Index. Egg prices, however, topped the overall index and posted the largest annual jump of any food category, rising 49.1% from a year ago.
The CPI figures for December, which will be announced on Thursday, will offer better insight into the high cost of eggs.
Still, the average cost of a dozen Grade A eggs in November was $3.59, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A year ago, the average cost for the same cartoon was $1.72, according to data from the Department of Labor.
The rising costs are blamed on soaring labor, fuel and feed costs combined with recurring bird flu outbreaks that disrupted production.
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Egg producers have been hardest hit by bird flu, which has affected 58 million birds in the past year. More than 43 million of these birds, all of which were killed to control the virus, were laying hens.
“Recurrent HPAI [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza] outbreaks continued to disrupt normal production and marketing patterns through November, negatively impacting exports,” the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report last week.
In its report, the USDA said record egg prices have started to soften, although “it will be some time before this is reflected in the dairy case.”
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|CALM||CAL-MAINE FOODS INC.||52.50||-1.11||-2.07%|
Cal-Maine Foods, the largest U.S. producer and marketer of fresh shell eggs, said last month it was closely monitoring the current outbreak of HPAI that was first detected in commercial flocks in United States in February 2022.
“The current HPAI outbreak has surpassed the previous outbreak of 2014-2015 in terms of the number of hens affected in the United States, and HPAI continues to circulate in the wild bird population in the United States and abroad,” the company said in a press release.
Cal-Maine noted that there have been no positive HPAI tests at any of its owned or contracted production facilities as of December 28, 2022.
“The company believes the HPAI outbreak will continue to put downward pressure on overall egg supply, and how long these effects last will depend in part on when the US laying hen flock rebuilds” , said Cal-Maine.
The company posted record quarterly sales, up 110% to $801.7 million for the second fiscal quarter ending November 26, 2022.
Net income reached a record $198.6 million.
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For now, “eggs remain a competitively priced protein compared to other animal proteins.” the USDA said.
This comes at a time when demand for the product remains high.
“As the new year begins, more than a few consumers are looking to change their food choices to support healthier lifestyle resolutions and eggs remain a top option,” the agency added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.