Egg Prices Surge to Record Levels as Christmas Grocery Prices Hit Consumers

Posted originally on the CTH on December 22, 2022 | Sundance 

The price for a dozen eggs continues climbing as explanations turn toward blaming bird flu.  However, the avian influenza may explain a recent spike, but the longer duration of escalating food price commodities is much deeper than momentary fluctuations.  These are energy dependent products.

As CTH noted last year, watch egg prices as a general gauge for overall food inflation (eggs hit almost every process in the supply chain), and watch potato availability to gauge overall row crop stability (staple commodity on every plate, venue).

Additionally, as previously noted, as energy prices continue rising pay attention to the prices on ‘organic’ products.  Rising energy prices drive up costs for large commercially processed food supplies at a much higher rate than smaller organic production.  People are starting to notice the ‘organic’ option is almost at price parity.

Wall Street Journal – […] Wholesale prices of Midwest large eggs hit a record $5.36 a dozen in December, according to the research firm Urner Barry. Retail egg prices have increased more than any other supermarket item so far this year, climbing more than 30% from January to early December compared with the same period a year earlier, and outpacing overall food and beverage prices, according to the data firm Information Resources Inc.

For supermarkets, eggs are a staple product that most consumers pick up on trips to the grocery store, similar to milk and butter. To maintain store traffic, grocers said they have been sacrificing some profits on eggs to keep prices for consumers competitive. Some suppliers are projecting potential relief in price by February or March, but cold weather could hamper production in the near term, executives said.

[…] Grocery prices have continued to increase this year because of what companies have said are higher costs of labor, ingredients and logistics, helping supermarkets generate higher sales and profits. Those factors have propelled egg prices, too. As eggs get more costly, some supermarkets are selling more organic eggs that are sometimes less expensive than conventional varieties, while suppliers say consumer demand has remained steady despite higher prices. (read more)

Additionally, the overall price for a Christmas meal is much higher than it was in 2021.

(Via Fox) […] The holiday dinner grocery basket is estimated to cost an average of $60.29, according to data from Datasembly. That’s 16.4% higher than last year’s basket when comparing the same exact basket of goods. It’s also double the year-over-year increase reported last year at 8.2%, according to the retail data firm.

[…] The 13 products included stuffing mix, corn, green beans, frozen apple pie, whipped topping, butter, cranberry sauce, bone-in spiral-cut ham, egg nog, homestyle biscuits, russet potatoes, white frozen young turkey and homestyle roasted turkey gravy.

According to the data, biscuits had the highest price increase year-over-year, rising 47.7%. Butter and russet potatoes weren’t far behind with prices rising 38% and 32.6%, respectively, the data showed. (read more)

Keep in mind, this week you should be seeing competitive pricing on beef, specifically standing rib roasts.  Retailers will be competing with each other on the staple table items, and this creates an opportunity to buy and freeze beef at a lower price.

2023 will be a year when shopping smart will become increasingly important.  Prices are likely to continue rising; one thing is certain, as long as energy costs keep increasing, food prices will not drop.  Use the season(s) and holiday sales as opportunities to purchase specific items at lower prices; then store, freeze or can at home for use when the price of those same items is much higher.

Eggs at Christmas 2020 $1.79/doz.  -VS-  Eggs October 2022 $7.29/doz.

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