The unfolding shortage that in recent months has driven up egg prices across the U.S. is far from over, as in many states Americans continue to pay much more than they’re used to for the grocery staple.
The price of eggs, fueled by inflation and a major bird flu outbreak that has killed millions of birds in the U.S. and in dozens of countries around the world, reached a record high in December, when the average cost for a dozen eggs in U.S. cities reached $4.25, up $1.78 from a year earlier.
According to Instacart, a retail company operating grocery deliveries and pickups in the U.S. and Canada, the Midwest was the hardest-hit area.
“Over the past several weeks, we’ve observed how the price for a dozen eggs has skyrocketed across the country,” Instacart told Newsweek in an emailed statement.
“We looked at Instacart purchase data and have found that the price Instacart customers have spent on a dozen eggs has increased by 54 percent year-over-year, comparing December 2022 to December 2021.”
In the Midwest, the average price consumers paid in December for a dozen eggs was double what they paid a year earlier. Iowa experienced the largest price increase, with the cost of a dozen eggs surging 153 percent year-over-year.
In South Dakota, egg prices rose by 137 percent, while in Wisconsin and Minnesota, consumers paid 118 percent and 116 percent more for a dozen eggs than they did in December 2021. In Nebraska, the average price of a dozen eggs was 104 percent higher.
But while these states went through the most dramatic price increases, in other states—including Hawaii and Florida—eggs remain overall more expensive.
In Hawaii, where egg prices grew 51 percent in December, the average cost of a dozen eggs was $9.73. In Florida, where prices surged 57 percent, it was $6.36.
In Alabama, consumers would pay an average of $6.12 a carton, while in Nevada, they would pay $6.07 and in California $6.05.
Despite experiencing the largest price increase in the country, Iowa still had some of the lowest egg prices in the U.S., with a dozen eggs costing an average of $4.44 a carton. Cheaper prices were found only in Missouri, where a dozen eggs was priced at an average $4.24 in December.
Other states that saw huge price increases still paid the lowest price for eggs across the country, including Nebraska ($4.25 on average), Indiana ($4.33 on average), Ohio ($4.39 on average) and Kentucky ($4.41 on average).
Though every state was impacted by what’s been already renamed “eggflation,” some saw significantly smaller price increases. In Washington, egg prices surged only 15 percent—very little compared to the 153 percent in Iowa. In Oregon, prices increased 16 percent, in Alaska 22, in California 31 and in Idaho 36 percent.
Egg prices are expected to remain high as the costs of fuel, transportation, feed and packaging have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.
New bird migrations in spring, the time when the bird flu usually hits, are also expected to worsen the current outbreak, which has continued uninterrupted since last year and has given no signs of slowing down.
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