Why Are Eggs Getting So Expensive?

If you noticed a sharp increase in the price of eggs recently, you’re not alone. Across the country prices for “conventional eggs” i.e. those produced at the lowest possible cost and with the greatest possible inhumanity to hens and people, are skyrocketing. Why? Avian Influenza, or bird flu, is the reason. The disease can spread from wild fowl on their spring migration to domestic agricultural operations. And because these birds live in such densely packed, dirty, inhumane environments, the producers have no choice but to destroy the entire population at that operation once they have a single identified infection – that can mean millions of birds on a single “farm” are lost at once. The result is that over 47 million birds have been put to death since the outbreak started, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch on June 18th.

Here’s the point. These cheap agricultural systems are risky and unsustainable. They only work, until they don’t. Then they shift huge costs and externalities to the communities that host them and to the consumers who buy their products.

DS4A4038

At Pete & Gerry’s, we are not immune to Bird Flu, nor the need to raise prices at times when our costs increase; but because we farm responsibly year in and year out, our small farms, caring farmers, and humanely raised hens have a far better chance of avoiding this epidemic and other health risks like Salmonella over time. In fact, we’ve never had a single outbreak of either in our history. It costs more for us to farm this way. But it also means we don’t have to raise prices as often, or as sharply, when something goes wrong. We provide a far more sustainable and predictable price by being responsible caring farmers.

7 responses

  1. Thank you for all you do to bring us a healthier egg, from healthier hens. I appreciate your hard work.

  2. Jordan says:

    I would happily support these kinds of business practices, if I could afford to. I eat 9-15 eggs a day as part of my weightlifting nutrition. If I were to have to pay 4-6 dollars per dozen eggs, on my income, I’d go broke fast. As much as I like the flavor and quality of more expensive eggs, it’s just not an option for me right now.

    Maybe someday I would be able to afford more
    expensive, higher quality, sustainably farmed eggs.. But right now conventional eggs have a place in my hourly pay income, and there’s not a way around it that I’ve yet found.

    Thanks!

  3. kyle scott says:

    Ok, so how much are your eggs? Because all the organic eggs I’ve come across still cost more than conventional eggs.

    1. Family Farm Team says:

      Hi Kyle! Our eggs typically retail for between $4-$6 per dozen. Organic production typically adds around $1/dozen and producing eggs on small family farms that actually look like farms certainly adds to the cost. However, we feel that the quality is worth it. At the end of the day, massive production on an industrial scale involves a lot of risk. That risk can remain hidden by low prices for some time. However, when things go bad in industrial agriculture, they go REALLY bad. So, this summer we lost over 40 million laying hens in the US and now have commodity eggs at record level prices that seem to keep going up.

  4. Karen Moore says:

    Are your products sold in the Houston, TX area?

    1. Family Farm Team says:

      Hi Karen,

      You may find us at Central Market or The Fresh Market. Keep an eye on our retail locator on the website to learn about new distribution in your area.

  5. Michael Milhouse says:

    As much as I believe in sustainable agribusiness I am surviving on a very limited disability income and have to shop for my budget. I have been wondering
    why (at least in my area of rural South Carolina) I am able to by a carton of eighteen eggs for .78 cents. I assume these eggs are from large commercial operations but I can not afford to pass on the opportunity to have this high source of protein as part of my daily diet. I do feel rather guilty for supporting such practices as inhumane farming but at this point feel that I have no other choice. Can anyone
    explain how these eggs (as controversial as they may be) are so inexpensive, even considering how they may be farmed it seems almost impossible for these producers to be clearing much of a profit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *