Egg Prices Up but Chicken Is Cheaper

Dec. 12, 2022
Avian flu blamed for the former, inflation-spooked consumers for the latter.

Egg prices are skyrocketing while the bottom is dropping out of prices for chicken meat, in a paradox that reflects some of the most unusual market conditions in decades.

Producer egg prices in October, at $2.07 a dozen, were 266% higher than in October 2021, according to Egg Industry Center statistics quoted by WattPoultry.com. The 10-month average retail price was $2.90, which is 126% higher than the same period last year.

The situation was attributed almost entirely to outbreaks of avian flu, which has devastated layer flocks throughout the country. More than 36 million layers have been affected, reducing the flock by 4.5% year-over-year as of September.

Meanwhile, after hitting an all-time high of $3.50 per pound in May, the price of boneless, skinless chicken breast meat fell to just over $1 a pound by October. This drop was attributed to chicken building up in the supply chain due to bigger-than-normal orders by trade customers, and to consumers reacting to inflation by curtailing spending. The inflationary shock to consumers is not over; boneless, skinless breast meat hit a record $4.75 a pound in September.

About the Author

Pan Demetrakakes | Senior Editor

Pan has written about the food and beverage industry for more than 25 years. His areas of coverage have included formulations, processing, packaging, marketing and retailing. Pan worked for Food Processing Magazine for six years in the 1990s, where he was operations editor (his current role), touring dozens of food plants of every description. He has also worked for Packaging and Food & Beverage Packaging magazines, the latter as chief editor, during which he won three ASBPE awards. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in communications.

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