GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Why did the consumer cross the road? Well, they might be heading to another grocery store to compare the price of a dozen eggs.
No, that wasn’t egg-stremely funny, but people aren’t exactly cracking up at how much it costs to make an omelet these days.
FOX 47 Chief Meteorologist Brad Sugden posted a photo to Facebook on Jan. 1 of the egg cooler at the Meijer grocery store on Plainfield Avenue in Grand Rapids, showing a dozen large eggs going for $5.29.
The post resonated with other egg-sasperated West Michiganders, picking up over 10,000 shares and 13,000 likes.
“Can someone explain WHY? just asking,” one commenter wrote on the post.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price for a dozen large grade-A eggs in January 2022 was $1.929.
By November of 2022, that price had jumped up to $3.589 a dozen.
Data collected by IRI Worldwide, a global technology, analytics, and data provider, show that the price of refrigerated eggs jumped 68.2% from November 2021 to November 2022.
The reason is multi-faceted, but the good news is that the price hike is likely temporary.
According to the USDA, the winter holiday season will bring higher demand for eggs, something we certainly saw in 2022.
But our hen population has recently taken a hit, seriously impacting supplies.
According to a USDA spokesperson, recent and continued outbreaks of HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) in commercial hen flocks.
The outbreaks have been occurring since February of this year, killing approximately 40,000,000 hens throughout the country.
The USDA says this has resulted in a 5% decline in the number of hens compared to November 2021.
Because of this, egg production is down about 4% since that same point in November 2021.
A spokesperson for the USDA tells FOX 17 that some grocery retailers are addressing the price increase by temporarily not featuring eggs as much in their weekly ad circulars.
The USDA maintains an online dashboard regarding known outbreaks of HPAI throughout Michigan and the country on its website.
The last case of HPAI detected in Michigan was found on November 10, 2022.
There has only been one commercial poultry operation confirmed to be impacted by HPAI this year in Michigan, when a commercial turkey farm in Muskegon was found to have about 35,100 impacted birds.
The USDA has also recorded 19 cases of backyard flocks being impacted throughout Michigan in 2022.