Eggs Are Expensive Right Now—Will This Last Forever?

Everything you need to know about egg-flation.

January 24, 2023
Photo by Rocky Luten

Eggs, the fourth most purchased grocery item in the United States, have become expensive and difficult to find—and now occasionally smuggled across international borders.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of a dozen eggs in the United States increased 137 percent in December 2022, compared to the previous year. The drastic rise in cost and simultaneous scarcity is happening for two reasons: a historic avian flu outbreak within the United States as well as globally occurring cost increases for animal feed and fuel.

Photo by Julia Gartland

This aforementioned avian flu outbreak is the worst in United States history. First detected in February 2022, over 57 million birds across 47 different states have been affected by avian flu, and more than 44 million egg-laying hens have died. The death and illness brought on by this flu has led to a 7.5 percent decrease in total egg supply, according to The New York Times.

But there is some good news: Over the last few weeks, reported cases of avian flu have decreased significantly at commercial egg-laying facilities. So far this year, the Department of Agriculture reported that less than 350,000 birds have been affected, a sharp decrease from the reported 5 million birds affected last December. The ongoing lull in the virus should enable farms to restock production and egg prices to slightly drop in the near future.

With the cautious optimism of flu decline comes a hedging warning from experts according to a statement from the United Egg Producers, the trade group that represents the greatest number of commercial egg farmers in the U.S. The organization has predicted that when bird migration resumes in the spring, avian flu cases could spike again.

Separate from the flu, chicken feed and the fuel necessary for egg production remain relatively expensive because of ongoing supply chain disruptions brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the post-COVID global economy recovery. These increased production costs are expected to persist for the foreseeable future, likely leading to relatively heightened egg prices, independent of an avian flu recovery.

In the eyes of the internet, restricted supply, steady demand, and increased prices for eggs have transformed the breakfast staple into a sign of opulence. What was once breakfast food has now become internet fodder for egg-wealth memes, TikToks, and tweets.

In the meantime, if you’re not rich in Omega-3s and would like to save a few bucks, there are plenty of suitable egg replacements. Aquafaba (the liquid found in a can of chickpeas) can replace egg whites in many baking applications. Flaxseed flour mixed with water works in similar situations. Vegan egg alternatives, like JUST Egg, work for scrambles, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches.

Let us know how you are dealing with heightened egg prices in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Paul Hagopian

Written by: Paul Hagopian

Content @ Food52


meleabritt March 23, 2023
It's funny to me that the author suggested Just Egg--a vegan egg replacement--that is roughly the equivalent of 6 eggs, and costs the same as a dozen actual eggs ($4.99 in my area)--as a replacement because of the higher cost of eggs. This does not track.
cici K. February 7, 2023
Why aren't the multiple fires at egg laying facilities mentioned in addition to the fact that home producers are seeing egg production plummet with commercial feed? Feed issues would effect commercial growers too no?
sharon February 7, 2023
Where I live in Florida, egg prices have risen about 400%. Also, there does not seem to be a shortage at any of the local supermarkets. I believe it doesn't take too long for chicks to produce, so how long do producers expect us to pay more than $5.00 for a dozen? How long can the excuse be covid 19?
Lisa S. February 7, 2023
It takes about 5 months from hatch for a chicken to start laying eggs. The excuse isn't covid, its avian flu, increased price of wheat and other grains, increased cost of gas that pushes the price of everything up...
Sadie K. February 7, 2023
It's pretty close to a year before chickens start to lay.
Elaine A. February 7, 2023
Since I buy local eggs that are from local friends, I have paid $5.00 the whole time and their prices haven't changed. They used to be expensive - but not overly. They are organic and free range.
Lisa S. February 7, 2023
That's not a bad price for eggs from organically fed hens because organic feed isn't cheap. Never has been.
cosmiccook February 7, 2023
Wow Farmers Market eggs (and NOT organic) here in N.O. were always more expensive than the best in a grocery store. Currently FM eggs are $7 dozen and not organic--at least here.
[email protected] February 6, 2023
It's also worth noting that "Cal-Maine’s profit increased 65%...during the three months ended Nov. 26 from a year ago." - CNN Business
Cal-Maine is the largest producer and distributor of eggs in the US.
Ticketytwo February 6, 2023
Check out the link I posted. It’s all about the egg industry. They basically lied, colluded and profited greatly
cosmiccook February 7, 2023
Even more telling in the CNN article you state is "There have been no positive tests of the avian flu at any Cal-Maine Foods’ facilities". Given how horrific most commodity egg farms are, makes me question if the "pasture" raised hens are not the ones testing positive &/or requiring euthanasia w increases for them just an opportunity for increased profits?
Sadie K. February 6, 2023
I wonder how chefs are gong to deal with this. For functional reasons, eggs are essential in baking, etc.
Smaug February 6, 2023
There are some alternatives out there, but they'll probably either charge more or just eat it- the markup in bakeries and restaurants is so high the price of eggs isn't a big factor. Many of them probably have better sources than supermarkets. Trader Joe's is keeping prices pretty well under control.
cosmiccook February 7, 2023
The TJ Pasture raised eggs I buy have gone up about $2 a dozen. While they do sell less expensive eggs, the Pasture raised yolks are a deep orange which I love and are indicative of foraging. Since the "pasture raised--especially TJ organic PR are now the same price as at the farmers markets, I get them from local vendor. At least I can GO to the farm and see how they are raised.
Lisa S. February 7, 2023
They'll definitely just pass the price increase along. There really aren't great alternatives for baking. Eggs are pretty amazing!
Lisa S. February 7, 2023
yes! I love that. And pasture raised are definitely the gold standard.
Mancook February 6, 2023
There is another reason for feed and fuel increase besides the war in Ukraine. The Biden administration economic policy is driving prices for everything up.
Linda February 6, 2023
I totally agree with your response. It’s more than the war in Ukraine. But I am very fortunate to have a farmer in my neighborhood so I can purchase fro them and give to my grandchildren.
Deb February 7, 2023
Yeserday I shopped and noted that prices are down on a lot of stuff I buy regularly. DOWN. I was quite surprised and stocked up on quite a few things.

This risks making it political, intead of food-related, mentioning government policy and blaiming Biden - nope, I don't agree.

Read the information posted about the egg industry - the current gov't tried to pass legislation about price gouging and the Republicans in Congress voted it down. Put the blame where it belongs, on the companies with the huge profits and those that support them.
cosmiccook February 7, 2023
The farmer's market eggs are always more expensive than store. But now w the increase in cost at markets they are running the same.
Mancook February 7, 2023
I agree with you that this should not be made into a political argument. And I did read the article about the egg producers and that too is a factor. I just was responding to an ascertain made in the article about Ukraine. Which kinda made it political in the first place, Don't you think.
Deb February 7, 2023
The war in Ukraine is a general comment about a worldwide issue (in my mind, anyway). And a remark about POTUS is specific and directed. I get your thinking, though.

And you may not have seen, I did remark that a local producer of eggs didn't get any eggs for 3 weeks...I found that information to be more astonishing than anything else. Maybe I'm used to gouging and simply live with it. But hens not even laying? Makes the gouging kind of moot!
Lisa S. February 7, 2023
Lots of reasons why hens stop laying eggs though. The main one is shorter days, but also illness, stress, low-quality feed. Hens are finicky!
Deb February 7, 2023
That may all be true, but over 1,000 hens not laying a single egg for 3 weeks? I doubt they all got "finicky" at exactly the same time. Plus, once the feed was changed out, they were fine. This is a commercial business, btw.

I only know one person that had hens that laid, and she always had more eggs than she could use. It was unfortunate for me that it was a 4-hour drive, so I could only get some during a regular visit. Here, in western NC, I think many people have hens, but I simply don't know them. And nobody sells eggs locally from their yard.
Dana M. February 7, 2023
It’s always the republicans or so everyone thinks
Ticketytwo February 6, 2023
Sadie K. February 6, 2023
The new cage-size requirements in California went into effect this year. States that do not comply with California's new requirement cannot sell eggs in California. Source Ag Alert.
Lisa S. February 6, 2023
Yes! That definitely has made prices go up. It's more expensive to produce cage-free eggs. More space, higher mortality, more egg breakage etc.
Bonnie P. February 6, 2023
The same law has just taken effect here in Colorado. Egg prices and scarcity had already gone up here before this new law went into effect...guess they'll be going up even higher now.
Lisa S. February 6, 2023
Sad because cage-free really is no better as far as the hen's quality of life goes. It just makes buyers feel better. Pasture raised is really the gold standard.
Deb February 6, 2023
Just putting in my 2¢, a local grocery store manage told me that a friend of his in the egg business didn't get a single egg from over 1,000 hens for 3 solid weeks! They found out by accident it was the feed - dumped it, got new feed, and the hens began laying the next day. I wonder how much of this problem is like that, but they haven't figured it out?
The accident: 2 hens got out of the coop and scratched around for a few days before they got rounded back up - and they'd started laying again.
Lisa S. February 6, 2023
I've never been so thankful for our backyard chickens!
Lisa Steele
Author of The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook
AliceK February 5, 2023
Since eggs have tripled in cost in our area, I have been encouraging my husband to have oatmeal for breakfast instead of 3 fried eggs. I have put away my recipes for pound cake (6 eggs!) and angel food cake (12 egg whites!) and making brownies and cookies instead (1-2 eggs per recipe). One day I will buy eggs in quantity again, but right now, I am treating each one like gold!
Lisa S. February 6, 2023
I raise chickens and we've been eating oatmeal all winter because I don't force mine to lay. But I can't wait for fresh eggs again! I love pound cake and lemon curd and lemon meringue pie and angel food cake....
meme January 25, 2023
what is that delicious looking egg dish; the first picture of the article?
Erin A. January 25, 2023
It's our Golden Basted Eggs!
Lisa S. February 7, 2023
They look amazing! Great photo!
Smaug January 24, 2023
In addition, recent laws aimed at making chicken farming a bit more humane have caused price increases at least in California; can't say I begrudge it to those hard working hens. I would like to thank Food52 for a concise and to the point article without commercial interruptions; they've become rare.
Deb February 6, 2023
I don't begrudge increases for that, but our prices went from $2.18 for 18 eggs to $7.55, in a few weeks. Ummm, that's a lot more than 137%!
And I also say Thank you for a very nice article, and for pointing out the Golden Basted Eggs recipe :)

dtremit February 6, 2023
MA has had a similar law for over a year. While some of the cheapest eggs had previously disappeared, the price of *all* of them has spiked in just the past week.