Egg prices plummet
Egg prices at the supermarket appear to be taking a supply and demand market-driven tumble, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Expert, but Olney’s backyard egg sellers say their prices have stayed steady as demand for their organic eggs remains strong.
Consumers might have noticed lower egg prices at the supermarket over recent weeks, and David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Bry- an-College Station, expects that trend to continue. Egg supplies are still below where production was a year ago, but supplies continue to rise amid declining purchases, he said. Rising supplies and weaker demand are driving egg prices downward.
Producers continue to rebuild the table egg-laying flock that was hit hard by the avian flu outbreak beginning in February 2022. While egg production has increased, Anderson said demand typically dips after Easter before climbing again around Thanksgiving Day and through the winter holiday season.
“Some of the demand is seasonal, but consumer response to higher egg prices is also part of it,” he said. “Meanwhile egg producers continue to increase production, and the market is responding to the supply and demand factors. It’s a good example of how the market works.”
Crystal Cook, who also owns Farmhouse Laundry & Dry Cleaning on Main Street, saw an increase in demand for her free-range eggs as prices soared as high as $6 per dozen compared to the $3 per dozen she charges. “Demand has definitely [increased] and I’m not sure if it’s the prices or if people want a more organic, clean egg. My chickens get nothing with medicine. The feed I buy is natural organic feed but they free range most of the day,” she said. “I actually had to tell my own family that they couldn’t have as many eggs because more people were buying eggs. Definitely, [there were] more people asking around, ‘where can I get eggs’ if I didn’t have them.”
Katie McPhie, who sells eggs from her 60-plus hens, said many new customers were aware that egg prices had risen because of avian flu among the commercial flocks. “Mostly when I would talk to people they would say how much egg prices had gone up … at any supermarket where you buy eggs and they would rather pay what they were paying for them in the store, or more, for eggs that come fresh from a farm where they know where they come from,” Mrs. McPhie said. “The people who we picked up from the grocery store want to continue getting them from us rather than a commercial egg farm.”
She and her husband, who raises the chickens as a hobby, did not raise their prices from $3 per dozen. “We are not out to make a whole lot of money,” she said. “Chickens are my husband’s hobby. He just loves chickens.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported retail eggs nationally were $2.74 per dozen between April 14-20 and were expected to be around $1.08 per dozen last week. Egg prices peaked at $4.82 in January, according to the Consumer Price Index.