As Egg Supply Dwindles Consumer Cost Continues to Rise Across Indiana, Kentucky & Illinois
It sounds cliché to say that we are currently living in unprecedented times in the United States, but it really is the truth. From the global pandemic to the civil and political unrest, paired with one of the highest inflation rates the country has ever seen, the current shared collective experience is unlike anything our parents or grandparents ever endured.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have experienced shortages of everything from toilet paper and baby formula to Rice Krispies and frozen pizzas leaving grocery and retail shelves bare and it seems that isn't going to end anytime soon.
Egg Prices Reached An All-Time High in April
In the month of April, the wholesale cost of eggs skyrocketed in part to the increased demand from the Easter holiday. Prices reached an all-time high seeing a 10.3% increase in April. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index, the consumer cost for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs saw a 14.3% price hike from April of 2021, the highest it has jumped in the United States year-over-year since May of 1979.
What Exactly Is the Consumer Price Index?
If you're wondering what exactly the Consumer Price Index is or how the Department of Labor determines these calculations, you are not alone. The Consumer Price Index details changes in the cost of goods and services that we, as the consumer are spending. The Department of Labor uses analytical data based on urban consumer spending.
The all urban consumer group represents about 93 percent of the total U.S. population. It is based on the expenditures of almost all residents of urban or metropolitan areas, including professionals, the self-employed, the poor, the unemployed, and retired people, as well as urban wage earners and clerical workers
The spending habits of farm families, and US residents that live in non-metropolitan or rural areas, are not included in the calculations for the Consumer Price Index. Other groups excluded from the calculations include members of the Armed Forces, and those who are institutionalized in either prisons or mental hospital facilities.
What's Driving Up the Cost?
The laws of basic economics are at play here, particularly supply and demand. While the demand seems to have stayed the same, the supply has been reduced. What's to blame? The H5N1 Avian Flu has wreaked havoc on US poultry producers forcing them to have to kill off large numbers of their flocks in attempts to prevent the disease from spreading. The reduction in flocks has caused a drop in egg production, as well as a decrease in fresh and frozen chicken on store shelves.
Prices Expected to Continue to Climb
The USDA expects both poultry and egg prices to continue to climb.
Retail poultry prices have been high, with historically low stocks of frozen chicken (also called “cold storage”). Egg prices increased by 1.9 percent in March 2022, following a 2.2-percent increase in February...
Poultry prices are now predicted to increase between 7.5 and 8.5 percent, and egg prices are predicted to increase between 6.0 and 7.0 percent.
No Immediate End in Sight
It's more than just eggs, poultry, and other meats. Fruits and vegetables have seen a nearly 8% increase since this time last year. Overall, "food at home," the phrase used by the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index to describe store-bought foods to be prepared at home, has seen the highest year-to-year increase since 1980, rising 10.8% from April 2021 to April 2022.
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