March 27, 2020
US eggs reach record high prices from surging demand due to COVID-19
The Urner Barry market reporting service said Midwest large eggs wholesale prices reached US$3.09 / dozen, three times higher compared to early March, reported Reuters.
Consumer prices for eggs have also gone up but only slightly as many grocery stores did not pass on the increased egg wholesale prices to consumers.
Brian Moscoguiri, Urner Barry director said the wholesale price hike has surpassed the high prices during the avian influenza outbreak in the country back in 2015.Urner Barry is a market reporting service reporting commodity egg prices daily.
He said egg prices have naturally gone up because of surging demand, not because prices are being gouged. Demand has increased up to six times more, outstripping fixed supply.
He added that in mid-January, the benchmark Midwest large egg wholesale prices were at US$0.78 because of a usual post-holiday drop but increased to US$1.03 in February to early March.
Consumers are rushing to fill their kitchens to prepare for a long shutdown as the US implements measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Moscoguiri said that while demand from foodservice and restaurants for eggs have dropped, they required egg products rather than whole shell eggs. The egg industry needs time to change its production line towards supplying retail with whole shell eggs.
Jayson Lusk, Purdue University professor of agricultural economics said it was difficult to know if the wholesale price hikes was due to higher demand or from suppliers seeing an opportunity to raise prices.
However, he said consumers are prepared to pay more for eggs, which is boosting demand and pushing egg prices higher.