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‘Excuse me, how much is this carton?’ Here’s why egg prices are skyrocketing across the United States.

For months, shoppers across the country have been scrambling to keep up with rising egg prices.

Prices continue to rise, rising 60% year on year in December. In January of last year, the average price for a dozen large Grade A eggs in the United States was $1.93. When egg demand peaked in December, the price had risen to $4.25.

Because of the high prices, a “He went to Kroger” meme was created, with an egg replacing an engagement ring in the “He went to Jared” jewellery advertisement.

When can we expect egg prices to fall, and what can we do in the meantime?

How much are eggs?

According to Consumer Price Index data, the price of eggs increased 11% from the previous month in December. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price for a dozen large Grade A eggs in December was $4.25, up from $1.79 the previous year.

Why are eggs so pricey?

There are three reasons for this: increased holiday demand, higher farm production costs, and an outbreak of bird flu, a highly contagious virus that can be fatal to poultry such as chickens and turkeys.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, more than 43 million egg-laying hens had died since the outbreak began in February 2022.

According to the USDA, the virus has killed more than 57 million birds in hundreds of commercial and backyard flocks across 47 states since February, surpassing the 50 million birds lost in the 2015 avian influenza outbreak.

“We’ve seen infections spread through a flock where they look perfectly fine one day and then die the next,” said Gregory Martin, a poultry educator at Penn State Extension. “That’s how fast this thing is. As a result, the losses are extremely severe.”

Martin stated that because bird flu is not a foodborne illness, poultry and eggs found in grocery stores are safe to consume.

What is causing the scarcity of eggs?

Grocery store egg shelves have been reported to be empty in states such as Colorado and California. Meanwhile, consumers in Massachusetts and Arizona have taken to raising their own chickens.

“We’re seeing some very, very temporary, isolated, and hyperlocal shortages,” said Emily Metz, CEO of the American Egg Board trade group. “We haven’t seen widespread scarcity. We haven’t seen any panic buying or anything of the sort.”

Will egg prices fall?

When egg prices will fall is difficult to predict and depends on both supply and demand, according to Maro Ibarburu, associate scientist at Iowa State University’s Egg Industry Center.

“In the absence of new cases (of avian influenza), egg production will gradually increase over the next few months, which should help the market,” Ibarburu said. “However, demand is also an important consideration.”

According to personal finance service The Ascent, you can save money for the time being by clipping coupons and comparing deals online to find the best deal.

Is it possible to freeze eggs in their shells?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, eggs should not be frozen in their shells.

To freeze eggs, combine the yolks and whites. The USDA recommends freezing egg whites and yolks separately, though whites freeze better than yolks.

The USDA recommends combining four yolks with a pinch of salt and one and a half teaspoons of sugar or corn syrup to freeze.

Use your frozen eggs within a year of purchasing them.

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