The line of cars is 30 minutes long at Billy’s Egg Farm in Southern California and workers are scrambling to meet demand.
Owner Billy Mouw sells 25,000 fresh eggs a day for $5 a dozen.
“That’s a pretty good bargain right now. Grocery stores are $7, $9 a dozen,” Mouw said.
That’s if you can find them.
At Egg Tuck, a breakfast spot in Los Angeles that goes through up 6,000 eggs a week, costs have quadrupled, and they’re feeling it.
Nationwide, prices for Grade A eggs are up 137% from last year to an average of $4.25 a dozen.
“There is a bird flu in the Midwest and most of the eggs that come to our grocery stores here in California come from the Midwest,” said Mouw.
Since the bird flu struck the U.S. about a year ago, almost 58 million birds have been infected or euthanized. It’s the country’s worst outbreak ever.
“The unfortunate reality with this particular strain of the bird flu is that it seems to be potentially endemic in wild birds,” said Karyn Rispoli, an editor with Egg Price Current.
Meaning it could be here to stay.
But the American Egg Board says inflation is an even bigger big part of the problem.
“You have feed prices that are up, you have fuel prices that are up, your packaging costs that are up, your labor costs are up,” said Emily Metz, the Egg Board President.
And there’s another factor in California. All eggs sold in the state now have to come from cage-free chickens, like Billy Mouw’s.
“It’s expensive, I mean it’s about $20-$25 per bird to switch over to cage-free,” Mouw said.
He said it’s also more work to collect the eggs.
Even with the high prices, eggs are still one of the cheapest forms of protein. The eggs in your fridge last a month, so no need to rush to the store.
Prices have declined slightly in the last couple of weeks but that could change again. After all, Easter is just around the corner.