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East Lansing businesses adapt to egg price increase

January 30, 2023

Egg prices soared during 2022 and have continued to rise during the first month of 2023, leaving businesses reliant on eggs forced to make some changes. 

In a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, egg prices rose around 60% in 2022 and have gone up over 10% from November 2022. 

Inflation has been seen in a variety of products over the course of the last year but has heightened in eggs due to a widespread avian influenza outbreak, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found has killed more than 49 million birds in 46 states since early 2022.

Michigan State University Poultry Outreach Specialist Zac Williams said the outbreak is still ongoing and farmers have been increasing their biosecurity practices to keep the disease out in an attempt to get the prices back to normal. 

Williams said the avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, isn’t the only factor contributing to the high prices. 

“The cost of everything is going up,” said Williams. "Like gas, fuel, feed has gone up a lot too. And all of those contribute to the price of eggs and meat and all our foods, so that’s also causing the increase in egg prices."

Increased costs for other commodities, Williams said, have led to the cost of production increasing, which in turn raises the cost of eggs. 

The increase in price has not led to a decrease in demand because eggs are an item bought frequently by most consumers.

“When we get a shortage of eggs the demand stays the same, so that drives up prices as well,” said Williams. 

Williams said all these factors are the “the perfect storm” to create the price increase that consumers see today. 

Square One Breakfast & Bakery Owner Ellen Leonard has taken note of the increase in prices. 

Leonard said that since she has opened, prices for eggs have almost tripled, and since that is one of the main ingredients she uses in almost everything she bakes, the issue has affected her business across the board. 

Leonard said she acknowledges that eggs do typically fluctuate in price, and they are sometimes more expensive than other ingredients, but if the cost continues to rise she said she will be forced to increase her prices. 

“I definitely have seen my bottom line affected significantly by it,” she said. 

Leonard said she has been looking to source her eggs from other distributors that sell at a cheaper price and has been more sparing with the number of eggs she uses in her baked goods. 

“When we are cracking eggs, I’m making sure that we get every last drop out of the egg because, you know, even if we’re leaving a little bit in there when we’re doing something in a hurry that adds up over time," Leonard said. 

Bake N’ Cakes manager Mara Burley said she is facing a similar issue. 

Burley said around this time last year the bakery was able to order a box of fifteen dozen eggs for around $20 but are now paying around $70 for the same amount. 

Burley said because eggs are used to make a lot of the cakes and cookies in the bakery, the prices for those items have been increased in response to the rising egg prices.

Like Leonard, Burley said that they too have been looking at different vendors, such as smaller companies and local farmers, but described that it is hard for smaller farmers to keep up with the number of eggs that the bakery typically needs in a week.

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Campbell’s Market Basket co-owner Percy Kaguni said that his business has definitely been affected by the increase, especially on the retail side of things. 

“We pretty much just eat some of the cost and then pass the rest of it to the consumers by raising our prices,” he said.

Kaguni said the price of Campbell's breakfast sandwiches have more than tripled since the egg price increase started. 

“Basically, all you got to do, all you can do, is raise the prices of your prepared items as well to reflect that," Kaguni said. "It’s unfortunate but it is happening everywhere.” 

Kaguni said Campbell’s have faced an egg shortage in the past, forcing the owners to look for different vendors.

The last known outbreak of avian flu in Michigan was in Sanilac County, on Dec. 27.

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