Eggs are a popular purchase for most family households.
Not only are they great on their own, but they’re also important in several recipes.
Eggs usually are quite inexpensive, but if you’ve gone to a store recently, then you’ll see that’s no longer the case.
You may wonder what’s happened that’s caused the price of eggs to increase.
Why Are Eggs So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average price of a dozen eggs in the United States is $3.41.
This has skyrocketed since the days when eggs usually cost a dollar and some odd amount of cents.
Certain factors like the high demand for eggs, problems affecting raising chickens, and problems with the supply chain have all contributed to higher prices.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. High Demand
The price of eggs wouldn’t be as high as it is today if there wasn’t a high demand for them.
However, the demand for eggs has only increased over the years.
That’s because eggs are a great source of protein among other things.
While eating too many eggs can lead to higher cholesterol, eating one or two a day, or even a week, can offer health benefits.
A lot of people also just enjoy the taste of eggs.
They’ll fry them right up, add a little salt and pepper, and consider it a fine meal.
Eggs are also popular in baked goods.
Not only does it provide more flavor, but it helps the consistency and texture of the baked good.
You’ll often find eggs in products you may not even think they would be in normally.
Eggs are in demand.
Since they’re in high demand, whenever there’s a problem affecting the supply of eggs, there are going to be high prices.
Eggs are expensive because they’re in high demand.
2. Bird Flu
One of the biggest problems affecting the price of eggs is the bird flu.
Over 50 million birds died from a strain of bird flu in 2022.
That number includes wild birds, chickens, and turkeys.
Bird flu can transmit to humans.
As such, whenever there’s a particularly potent strain of bird flu going around, agencies usually encourage people to stay away from wild birds.
They also recommend keeping domestic birds in the house and away from wild birds.
For farmers, it usually means they need to separate sick chickens from healthy ones.
Because so many birds died from the flu, it means there are fewer chickens available to lay eggs.
With fewer chickens laying eggs, it creates an egg shortage.
After all, chickens are only able to produce so many eggs in a given year.
If a ranch gets hit particularly hard, then it might lose half its chickens.
As a result, they’re also only able to produce half as many eggs as they normally do.
Since this is something that happens on a large scale, many ranches end up facing the same problem.
With a smaller supply of eggs available, it means the eggs that do make it to grocery stores are going to be more expensive.
Eggs are expensive because of how deadly the bird flu is.
3. High Feed Costs
Raising chickens is also becoming more expensive.
To produce eggs, chickens need to be happy and healthy.
If they’re stressed, they might not lay eggs.
If they do lay an egg, then it might not be to the standard that the farmer can sell.
To stay healthy, chickens need access to feed.
They’re foragers, so they tend to eat food throughout the day.
They eat small amounts from when they wake up to when they sleep with a few breaks between.
They’re not like other animals that eat a large meal, then feel satisfied for most of the day.
Because of this, farmers end up spending a good amount of money on feed.
The problem with chicken feed is that it’s become expensive.
Fertilizer costs are one reason to blame for higher prices.
Due to ammonia shortages, fertilizer suppliers haven’t been able to produce as much fertilizer as usual.
Since fertilizer is more expensive, farmers who grow feed are taking on higher costs.
They end up raising the price of their feed to cover their costs.
Chicken farmers then pay higher prices for the feed and take on more costs.
They have to offset their costs by charging more for their eggs.
The cycle repeats one more time for stores that then sell the eggs to customers.
Eggs are expensive because of the higher prices of chicken feed.
4. Fuel Costs
Fuel costs also impact the price of eggs.
Eggs usually arrive at grocery stores via trucks.
Depending on the distance from the farm to the store, the truck might have to cover several miles.
With high fuel costs, it means that the trucks have to spend more money to get to the store in question.
Eggs also need refrigeration.
Otherwise, they go bad.
No one wants to open a truck full of bad eggs.
To ensure the eggs stay preserved, they’re put in trucks with refrigeration units.
Those sorts of trucks are expensive to operate since they use energy to keep their containers cool.
That also adds to the cost of acquiring eggs.
Whether it’s the farmer or the store that hires the truck’s services, they’re paying higher costs as a result.
If fuel prices are high, then transport costs are high, and those costs are reflected in the overall price of the eggs.
5. Labor Shortages Affecting Supply Chain
It isn’t just fuel costs making the supply chain expensive either.
Trucking companies have experienced labor shortages.
Truckers have quit the industry in droves due to low wages and an exhausting schedule.
This means there are fewer people on the road transporting eggs.
As a result, it puts the supply chain in disarray.
With fewer truckers delivering eggs, fewer eggs are arriving at stores.
The stores have to mitigate supply and demand by increasing the price of eggs.
This helps them spread out their supply of eggs before more arrive.
When eggs are more expensive, those who are budget-conscious may think twice about buying them.
That helps the store keep its supply of eggs a bit longer.
This further ensures that they have a continuous supply of eggs available to those who can afford them.
It also means that the store is still able to make the same amount they would normally on eggs despite selling a smaller number of them.
Eggs are expensive because of the labor shortage affecting trucking companies which is impacting the supply of eggs.
6. Humane Animal Sourcing
A lot of attention has gone toward humane animal sourcing.
Whether someone is vegan, vegetarian, or just concerned about animal welfare, they’re more aware of the living conditions of animals.
In some cases, the poor treatment has sworn people off from eating their animal products ever again.
It’s a sort of boycott.
Others research the different brands and the farms they use.
They choose to buy and support brands that practice humane animal sourcing.
This refers to farmers who don’t keep their chickens in cages.
There are a few tenets the farmer must follow to say that they practice humane animal sourcing.
Their chickens must not live in fear, they must be able to walk around, and they must have access to clean food and water.
Their health is also a concern.
Chicken farmers who practice this way of raising chickens usually keep their chickens in free-range coops.
It’s a protected area with lots of room for chickens to walk around and forage.
They also ensure that they receive high-quality food and clean water.
Raising chickens in this way is a bit more expensive than just keeping them in cages.
Since it costs the farmer a bit more money, they sell their eggs at higher prices.
It’s also used as a marketing ploy.
Some brands will say that their chickens are cage-free and charge their customers extra money for their eggs.
However, that isn’t always the case.
It’s worth researching each brand and farm to ensure their labeling is honest.
Eggs are expensive because of the costs associated with humane animal sourcing.
7. Organic Eggs
When shopping for eggs, you’ll usually have two choices.
You can buy normal eggs or you can buy organic eggs.
Organic eggs usually cost more than normal eggs.
That’s because raising organic chickens tends to be more expensive than raising non-organic chickens.
To be an organic egg, the chicken that lays it must meet a few requirements.
They can’t receive any antibiotics that impact the immune system of humans.
There’s a growing concern about antibiotic resistance that eating food from animals that had antibiotics in them might make humans have antibiotic resistance, too.
The more antibiotics that a person has in their system, the more likely it is that the bacteria will become desensitized to them.
The antibiotic won’t be able to kill the bacteria, and the disease will spread.
By eliminating the use of antibiotics in chickens, or at least those associated with human diseases, there’s less risk of antibiotic resistance.
Organic chickens are also usually free of any growth hormones.
The end result is a cleaner chicken.
Its eggs, thus, are also cleaner.
Since it’s more expensive to raise a chicken this way, farmers charge more for its eggs.
Eggs are expensive when you buy organic brands.
8. Egg Size
The size of the egg also impacts its price.
At some grocery stores, you might have a large selection of different sizes available.
Even at grocery stores that only carry basic sizes, you usually have a choice between two.
There are small, traditional, and large eggs.
Traditional or normal eggs are the standard dozen eggs that you usually think of when buying eggs.
They’re the cheapest because they’re the most common size.
Some chickens will lay small or large eggs, too.
These tend to be rarer.
Since they’re rarer, they come at higher prices.
Larger eggs, in particular, also tend to have larger yolks.
There’s more inside the egg since it’s larger.
You might find the meal more filling or find your baked goods more flavorful by using larger eggs.
Since you’re using more of a product, it’s going to cost more money.
Small eggs are also rare.
Unless the chicken breed specifically gives small eggs, in most cases, they’re on the rarer side.
Some brands might offer smaller eggs at cheaper prices.
Others capitalize on the smaller size and market it as something trendy.
Those brands sell small eggs at higher prices.
Eggs are expensive when you buy sizes outside of the normal size.
9. Climate Change
There’s no question that climate change is also affecting the price of eggs.
Climate change has been behind odd weather patterns in the United States.
It’s caused droughts, extremely hot weather, and freezing temperatures in places that don’t normally experience them.
This impacts the agriculture of those areas.
Farmers are unable to grow food for both humans and animals.
This impacts the price of feed which also impacts the price of eggs.
Climate change also affects animals.
Like humans, animals have a certain range of temperatures in which they’re at their healthiest.
If the temperatures become too extreme, then it can affect them.
Chickens who prefer certain temperatures are suddenly finding themselves experiencing extreme temperatures.
It’s causing them stress which is impacting their ability to lay eggs.
Farmers can help regulate their experience by introducing heat lamps or cooling vents to help regulate temperatures.
Since it costs them more money, they’re selling eggs at higher prices.
Eggs are expensive because of how climate change is affecting agriculture and ranches.
A final reason eggs are expensive has to do with the impact of inflation.
Stores everywhere are seeing higher prices due to inflation.
Inflation makes everything more expensive.
Since materials are more expensive, everything down the line that uses those materials is expensive, too.
The problem with inflation is that it doesn’t always go away.
The higher prices are simply the new normal.
As such, the price of eggs may continue to be expensive for some time.
Eggs are often an essential part of someone’s diet.
However, due to the rising costs associated with feeding and raising chickens, along with shortages, eggs have become quite expensive.NEXT: Why Is Winn-Dixie So Expensive? (10 Reasons)