High egg prices and a big increase in demand for specialty eggs helped drive Cal-Maine Foods, the nation’s largest producer of shell eggs, to record sales in the fourth fiscal quarter.
Sales stood at $658.3 million, a 103% year-over-year increase. Net income was $125.3 million, compared with a loss of $18 million in the same quarter last year.
Much of the progress came about because of big jumps in in product prices. For the 13 weeks ending Aug. 27, the average net selling price of a dozen Cal-Maine eggs was $2.275, an 84% increase.
Success was also partly driven by increases in the sale of specialty eggs, like cage-free, grass-fed and organic. Specialty sales were up 35% year-over-year by volume, while conventional egg sales were down 2.3%. Specialty eggs are in demand because laws mandating that only cage-free eggs can be sold in Massachusetts and California went into effect this year, and because trade customers like McDonald’s are increasingly demanding them.
The increase in product prices and sales more than offset a 17% increase in farm production costs and a 22% increase in feed costs compared with the first quarter of last year.
“Our operations ran well during the quarter, and we are pleased with our ability to manage the business despite significant inflationary pressures contributing to rising costs for feed, labor, packaging, and distribution, among other costs,” CEO Baker said in a statement.