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Egg prices increase ahead of Easter holiday

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Egg prices are on the rise as Easter approaches, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert, but they are lower than what consumers may have paid at the grocery store earlier in the year.

Consumers – and the Easter bunny – may have noticed the price of eggs increasing recently, but this mostly has to do with demand, said David Anderson, PhD and AgriLife Extension economist at Bryan-College Station, Texas. 

Anderson said he expects this trend to continue leading up to the Easter holiday.

“We’re actually producing more eggs than we did a year ago, but eggs have a seasonal pattern to them,” he said. “And, with Easter being earlier than usual this year, we’re also seeing prices rise earlier than we typically would.”

Producers saw wholesale prices for cartons of shell eggs strengthening through this past week with increasing demand.

Holidays tend to drive demand up as consumers purchase more eggs than usual for eating and baking. The Easter holiday demand also includes the purchase of eggs to dye and hide.

Egg prices rising but lower than last month

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in February, the Consumer Price Index for eggs increased 5.8 percent, which was 17 percent below the level of 2023, with an average price of three dollars per dozen. 

This price was 47 cents per dozen higher than in January.

Egg prices peaked in February at $3.29 per dozen, according to some weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service retail grocery store data, Anderson said.

Last year around the Easter holiday, USDA reported retail eggs nationally were $2.74 per dozen. Anderson said consumers can expect them to be around $2.99 per dozen this year.

Anderson expects the cost of a dozen eggs will decline around Texas after the holiday, which is typical. However stores may drop prices closer to Easter if demand isn’t as strong as expected.

“But I don’t think I’d wait until right before Easter to buy eggs, just in case the demand is stronger than expected,” he said. “Individuals probably don’t want to wait too long to get eggs, especially if they’re planning on using real ones for their Easter egg hunt.”

Ongoing effect of avian influenza

Avian influenza, which has devastated commercial and backyard flocks in the U.S. since the outbreak began in January 2022, has been on the decline so far this year.

“Since December there have been around 14 million birds lost to avian flu, with the majority being in the upper Midwest,” said Greg Archer, PhD, AgriLife Extension poultry specialist and associate professor in the Texas A&M Department of Poultry Science.

He said while this number may be alarming, the majority – around 11 million – were impacted in December, and last month, only about 300,000 birds were lost.

Since the start of the outbreak in 2022, over 82 million birds have been affected. As producers have been able to replace the egg-laying hens lost, consumers have seen this reflected in lower egg prices.

“Knock on wood we’ll continue to see those fatality numbers drop,” he said. “Since it hasn’t been as bad this year, I wouldn’t expect egg prices to be as affected by that as much as in past years.”

Laura Muntean is the press and media relations specialist for Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension. This article was originally published in the Texas A&M AgriLife E-Newsletter on March 20. 

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