A Word from the GM
Today's hot topic is... EGGS!
If you have been paying attention to the news lately (or shop anywhere for eggs other than Common Ground Food Co-op) you may be wondering what in the world is going on with egg prices. Luckily for us here at the Co-op we have managed to keep our egg prices about the same as always for the past few months without any major price increases. We are lucky that almost all of our eggs are sourced from local farmers and we have not seen nearly the increase in prices from them as the rest of the conventional world. In early January we realized that our least expensive egg dozen was only $3.99, which is cheaper (and of much better quality) than eggs being purchased at other conventional retailers. I cannot promise this will always be the case but for now it certainly makes sense to buy your eggs from the Co-op or from local farmers.
A quick internet search led me to several reasons for the 60% increase in egg prices over the past year which, by the way, is the highest increase of any food item in grocery stores. Some of these reasons I am sure we have all suspected, others you may not be aware of.
1. Avian Flu - This has killed about 57.8 million egg laying chickens in the past year. Recovery time for egg farms that lose their entire flock is around 6 months.
2. Rising Feed Costs - The war in Ukraine is affecting grain prices including feed for chickens.
3. Higher Gas Prices - The eggs have to be transported to the grocery stores to be purchased so of course rising gas prices has contributed to rising egg costs.
4. Seasonal Reduction in Laying - Chickens don't lay many eggs in the winter time unless they are provided with artificial light.
5. Overall Inflation - Even though egg prices have been extremely high they are still a great choice for protein and relatively inexpensive when compared to the cost of other meat based protein options.
6. Cage-Free Regulations - Most commercial hen houses are converting to cage-free facilities in response to changing state laws and public outcry, which of course costs money and affects prices.
7. Popularity of Certain Diets - Meatless and Keto diets increase demand for protein rich food, hence more eggs being consumed.
8. Eggs Being Eaten at All Meals - Eggs are not just for breakfast anymore, they are being incorporated into lunch and dinner recipes causing increased demand.
9. The Holidays - Certain holidays have always caused high demand for eggs, and with December holidays behind us you may think prices should come down a little, but with normal winter baking along with Easter almost being here, that is not likely.
10. Designer Eggs - There are a wide variety of eggs out there now which is contributing to overall egg prices due to the higher cost of production for them. Omega-3 eggs, blue eggs, organic eggs, cage free and free range eggs are all priced higher and raise the average egg price.
This last one I only mention because, really, who does not enjoy a good conspiracy theory. Also, it could be true.
11. Collusion between large egg farmers to use Avian Flu as an excuse to outrageously raise the price of eggs to increase profits. Apparently, one group of farmers (Farm Action, a non-profit organization) is calling on the FTC for an investigation into this possibility. They think that the loss of 57.8 million hens, which is only about 5% of the total number of egg laying hens, does not account for such a drastic increase in egg prices.
At this point, I feel I must again shamelessly promote the Co-op and our local farmers. Regardless of what is going on in the world, I feel it is always best to support local businesses and food. Healthy, local eggs are much more valuable to me than cheap conventional eggs. I feel the same about local produce, meat, honey, and dairy. We know where this food comes from and we trust our farmers to bring us their very best products at fair prices!
Thank you all for reading, take care!