Bird Flu is Getting Egg-spensive

Apr 5, 2022

The Easter bunny may have to find something new to deliver this year…

A recent report from CoBank shows that highly pathogenic avian influenza is putting pressure on the egg supply chain this Easter. We can expect increased prices at the grocery store and potential supply challenges.

By the numbers:

  • 340M head to about 322M head: the amount the U.S. table egg layer flock shrunk from April 2019 to now
  • 11M layers have been lost in recent weeks due to HPAI
  • 5 days of inventory on hand: AMS weekly shell egg demand indicator
  • $2.88 a dozen: average shell egg prices, up about 52% since Feb. 8 announcement of first HPAI case

But bird flue isn’t the only one to blame…

Soundbite: “The supply decline stems from extreme shifts in consumer behavior during 2020. Although grocery demand shot through the roof in the infancy of the pandemic, egg producers were not initially set up to shift lost food service volumes into retail channels. The lack of packaging equipment and supplies led to empty store shelves, sky-high retail prices, and ultimately, lower egg consumption.” – Brian Earnest, CoBank‚Äôs Lead Economist, Animal Protein

While we’re here: Plenty of industry leaders are trying to tackle future ‘poultry pandemics’ to avoid similar supply chain crunches in the future.

Hit me with your best shot: The USDA is looking into options for vaccines for HPAI according to the agency’s chief veterinary officer. These efforts would not be able to help with the current wave of the disease, but would look instead to maintain poultry health and food price stability in the future.