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Why are eggs so expensive ?

Shoppers across the nation have been trying to keep up with soaring egg prices for months, and Louisville is no egg-ception.

Prices have jumped significantly in recent months. Last year, the average price for a dozen large Grade A eggs in the U.S. was $1.93 in January, according to the Federal Reserve. By December, the price had surged to $4.25.

In the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics’ Southern region, which includes Kentucky, the Consumer Price Index lists the average cost of a dozen eggs as $3.95 in December 2022. That’s a 170% increase from this time last year, when the same amount eggs cost $1.45.

How much do eggs cost now?

The national price of eggs jumped 11% in December from the month before, according to Consumer Price Index data. The average price for a dozen large Grade A eggs in December hit $4.25, up from $1.79 the year before, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Why are eggs so expensive?

Experts have listed three key reasons why eggs are more expensive now than in previous years: an increase in holiday demand, higher production costs for farmers and an outbreak of bird flu, a highly contagious virus that can be fatal to poultry such as chickens and turkeys.

Avian flu has killed about 43 million chicken-laying eggs over the last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a result, chicken-rearing farmers have been forced to breed new chickens, creating a “backlog in the amount of eggs produced,” according to Jose Fernandez, professor and chair of the economics department at the University of Louisville.

Many people want to make deviled eggs and drink eggnog during the holiday, Fernandez said, causing a rise in demand for the product toward the end of the year. A correlating wave of bird flu from September to December (12.6 million hens were lost) compounded the rising cost, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

When will egg prices go down?

Fernandez looks for egg prices to come back down later this year, with an expectation that they could start falling around February and peak again around Easter, when demand returns for activities like holiday egg hunting. Prices will likely remain stable until the 2023 holiday season causes another rise in demand, he said.