The price of eggs has skyrocketed over the last few months. Today, Brittany and Ronni explain why this is happening.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Ronni.
Ronni: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: So, if you go ask your parents, maybe pause the podcast or go ask them after. If you go ask them how much they’re paying for eggs, they might get a little frustrated or angry and not at, just because the price of eggs right now is so darn high. Everybody is just kind of losing their mind about it, and it’s become a really big problem. I don’t know, Ronni, have you noticed this when you’re going grocery shopping?
Ronni: I actually confessed that. So, I have chickens and I’ve had them for years, so, I would not have even known that the price of eggs was going up if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve just read it in the news or read it on social media everywhere. So, I haven’t personally, but yeah, I have my own supply in my backyard.
Brittany: You’re sitting on a gold mine right now. You could have a whole black market of eggs and people would be paying as much as you wanted.
Ronni: Except for its wintertime right now when they already slowed down in laying. So, unfortunately, I don’t have a whole bunch to be able to sell, but I’m thankful for the ones that I have.
Brittany: So, how many about, is it weekly? Is it monthly? How many eggs do you get from, well, first, how many do you have?
Ronni: So, I have 12 chickens, but they’ve actually slowed down a lot. So, at the moment, I’m only getting a couple of eggs a day, but that’s just because it’s been really cold. It’s small things. I don’t want to bore my audience unless they have chickens, but it’s things that I’m realizing that it’s too dark in my run. So, I need to expose them to more light, especially in the summertime that will slow down their laying.
Brittany: We’re going to have to do an episode. I’m making a note of this. I would love to do an episode where you just tell us about the life of, gosh, the science behind chickens.
Ronni: I can tell you all about all the breeds of chickens, so, I know so much about chickens. Yeah, we’ll save that for another week.
Brittany: Just save that. Okay, so let’s say a monthly, how many eggs do you think you’re getting.
Ronni: Enough to feed my family that it’s about the only thing I really pay attention to.
Brittany: That’s great right now because it’s bad egg prices have actually gone up 59%. So, think about it this way, if you were paying $2 for something and it went up 59%, you’d add an extra dollar and 18 cents and people buy a lot of eggs. So, that goes up quickly and the cost of groceries was already high. I’m sure you noticed that with other things, Ronni, that like I think it went up 9% last year, which was unheard of. What was it? It was the highest inflation since something crazy. I don’t remember. I try to forget it. So, infuriating. But this has made grocery shopping really frustrating. In fact, people have shown pictures of their grocery carts and what $30 bought them two years ago and what it buys them now. And it’s crazy. And of course probably surprises you that where egg prices have been the highest has been California because in California, everything’s just more expensive. So one dozen eggs, you guys, this is nuts. In California, was $7 and 37 cents.
Ronni: I will say that when I was living in California, this is a year and a half, two years ago I was, I had a bunch of chickens. I had a lot more, and I was selling my eggs for $5 a dozen. These are organic free-range eggs.
Brittany: They’re fancy eggs. Those are like, they’re
Ronni: Fancy eggs. And so, I had a bunch of extra eggs, and so I was selling them regularly to friends and family because they were like $5 a dozen. This is a steal again, this is California. Now, if I was out there, the fancy eggs, the backyard free range, organic fed eggs would be, oh, I could probably sell them for easily like $10.
Brittany: Oh, easily. Yeah, it’s crazy what people are willing to pay for eggs right now. The national egg price wasn’t that expensive, and I guess we should tell kids what they were before. I know you guys aren’t going to the grocery store every day and maybe looking at it, but though maybe that’s a fun little homework assignment is start paying attention to how much your parents spend at the store. So, I know that I used to buy really fancy eggs in the grocery store and they were $4, and that was a lot more than the other eggs. So imagine just regular eggs, nothing fancy, $7 and 37 cents. That’s a lot. That was California. Now, the national egg prices are about $4 and 25 cents, which is still pretty big because two years ago it was only a dollar and 79 cents. So, that is crazy. So this has been a problem for me because I love eggs, I love to eat them. And also I’m a big baking person. I bake all the time, and they’re hardly, if any recipes that you bake that don’t require eggs. In fact, when I make lemon bars a lot, I love lemon bars and there’s like six eggs in lemon bars. It’s like that’s half a dozen. That’s half of my carton of eggs. So, I want to talk about today why this is happening. And I want to point out that in most things in the world, it’s not just one reason. And it’s important to remember that when we talk about our economy, smart people, like our listeners, understand that the economy is made up of a bunch of individual actors. And so we all play a piece in this economy, and that’s why there’s so many different factors that can affect one thing. So, let’s talk about a few reasons. And some of ’em are the government being involved and some of ’em are just bad luck. So, the first thing is a hen shortage. You can’t have eggs without the hens to lay them. So, it’s chickens, but they’re hens that lay them. And what happened is there’s something called avian flu, and I dunno if you’ve ever gone to, it’s kind of like a bird zoo, I guess you’d call it. It’s called an aviary. So, I always like to talk about dissecting root words. I always, language is fascinating to me. I’m a writer. So, if you look at avian flu and an aviary, you’ll notice that the AV part is the same. That’s because when you hear that, it usually has to do with birds. So, avian flu is a flu that only impacts birds. It’s a sickness, and that means that a lot of farmers have just had a lot of their hens dying. It’s very sad. So that’s a big problem.
Ronni: Oh, I have an idea for another podcast. When I get to talk about chickens, I’m going to do a podcast about California chickens, the New Castle outbreak disease of chickens from 2018 to 2020, in which talk about government regulations. This was before COVID, but you were not allowed to buy chickens. You were not allowed to sell your eggs. I did. Anyway, it was an interesting precursor to many of the other government regulations that we’ve seen. So, this aviation AVM flu that’s going on right now is actually, there was a whole precursor to it that happened in California regarding.
Brittany: Interesting. Yeah, no, I’ll make a note of that. That would be, we’ll have a whole chicken week because I’ve got some chicken stories. We’ll do a whole chicken week. And obviously, fewer hens mean fewer eggs, and as we know when there are fewer things on the market, but the demand stays the same, the prices have to rise because everyone still has to make their money. And so everything gets bigger and everything rises. So, that brings me to my next point is inflation. And our favorite creature from Jekyll Island, the Federal Reserve, they keeps increasing the money supply. And again, as you guys all know, when that happens, the cost of everything goes up because the value of the dollar goes down. I do, I think Connor and I are doing a whole episode on the Weimar Republic where we talk about that because is kind of the gold standard for talking about the gold standard, I guess I shouldn’t say that because of an expression, but that’s kind of confusing to talking about this, but about how when you print too much money, it just means nothing. There was a point in Germany before World War II where people would bring wheelbarrows full of their I can’t remember what they’re called. I’m so bad at this. We’ll do a whole episode, but German money was devalued so much that they would only buy them one watermelon. It’s crazy. So that’s what happens. So, now food prices are going up already across the board, and even though those have slowed down now, eggs are not, and eggs were always higher than anything else. So, it does have to do with inflation. Already everything was going up. But again, with the avian bird flu, it’s kind of like a recipe for disaster. There was just so many different factors. So, another one is supply chain issues. So we heard this a lot, especially in the pandemic, is that there were all these new regulations, and it was also, there was, there were certain countries that wouldn’t export goods because everybody was freaking out about the pandemic. And so not just with eggs, but that meant that a lot of items couldn’t get to us. I remember walking to ACVS and looking, and it was weird. Things were out like hair clips, they couldn’t get them because of the supply chain, sometimes they would even be sitting in ports, but they couldn’t get in and be, and it was just like the big boats, like the freight cargo ships. So, it’s just really crazy because that impacts everything. It’s crazy how these little things can impact. So, if there’s food on those supply chain crates or freights, they can’t get to the grocery store and get to us if they’re not able to unload. And part of the unloading, which is something else we’ll talk about, is there were labor shortages and then labor cost rises, which means, first of all, people weren’t working. That was a big problem. Even now, still, as the pandemic, people are still being paid not to work. And so you had a lot of people who just weren’t working. And then the cost of labor with minimum wage laws and everything that was going up. And so you have this problem where there’s either not enough workers or people can’t afford to pay workers because the cost has become so big. So, those are the things that were impacting eggs specifically. But if we talk about inflation on a bigger scale, the other thing that’s crazy is that now that there’s the Russia, Ukraine crisis, there’s sanctions that have also caused food to rise like wheat. I think a lot of people don’t understand that we were getting wheat, I think it was from Russia, and there was so much wheat we were getting from there. And then that causes problems here because now we’re not doing business with them. And it reminded me of the Bastiat quote, and I’m going to butcher it, but if goods don’t cross borders, armies will, It’s kind of this belief that when people are trading with each other in different countries, it keeps us peaceful because we’re all relying on each other. But then you do this and it makes everybody angrier. And then there was in the last couple of minutes, the last thing I’ll mention the formula shortage. Ronni, I know your kids are older. I don’t know if you knew anybody who had a problem with this.
Ronni: Just online or in online mom groups. A lot of people were looking for a formula.
Brittany: Well, and part of the reason, so there was a formula shortage, which is, that’s really scary, right? Because babies need formula. But part of the reason was that the government was only allowing four different companies to manufacture the formula, and they were making all these regulations of what you could put in the formula and everything. And so, these types of regulations also cause not only prices to rise, but shortages everywhere, right? Because of the government’s meddling. And that also has to do with the price of eggs rising because again, with labor costs and different regulations that farmers have to put up with, there’s just all these different costs that go into it. Obviously, the big one is the avian flu, the government didn’t do that, but certainly didn’t help, right? So, it’s just this perfect storm, as we call it. But to wrap it up, I hope that we solve this soon, or the economy solves it because nothing, any government, in fact, I think the government tried to blame it on selfish egg companies or something. And it’s like, no. And every time you meddle or try to pass a law to say they have to cost this much as we know when the government gets involved in the economy, it does not help. It makes things worse. So, let’s hope it gets better, but let’s hope it gets better because the market corrects itself and not the So with that, everyone, please don’t forget to like and subscribe and share our podcast with your friends. And until next time, we will talk to you soon.
Ronni: All right, see you soon.