Reminisce for a moment on the simple luxury and common experience of buying eggs, bread and milk at the grocery store weekly. These food staples have never been excluded from a common grocery cart for many families, until recently. Beginning around December 2022, egg prices have skyrocketed in every local grocery store in California. According to Food&Wine, in December the price for a dozen eggs was close to $4.00 but has risen to a jaw dropping $7.00 –if not higher– by this month. The exceptionally high prices of eggs has made it difficult for many families to afford this food staple every week.
Although inflation has had a major impact on many goods, it is not the only thing responsible for the egg price spike as of recent. California has a law in place known as Proposition 12 which protects and ensures the welfare of farm animals since 2018. This Proposition requires cage free laying in all Californian farms. The difficult thing, though, is that only a small portion of California’s hens are cage free. This means that there is a limited supply of eggs and no backup when disaster strikes, as it did last February. A bird flu known as avian influenza has spread far and wide from its initial outbreak and killed nearly 50 million birds, as reported by Forbes. This has additionally limited the amount of laying hens available to provide for the market in California.
In short, a lower availability of hens means there is less amount of eggs allowing a raise in price for the few eggs on the market so that the companies can stay afloat until the amount of chickens are replenished on the farms. Prices going back to normal will not happen overnight, as emphasized by the LA Times, since hens do not start laying until when they are about 6 months to a year old. While eggs remain one of the most common ingredients in most household recipes, it may be time to find some alternatives. Alternates range from applesauce, mashed banana, or yogurt and buttermilk, as described and explained on the Healthline website. As the world around us changes it provides opportunities for new experiences and new things in our lifetime. Though it is a shame that eggs are so expensive, it may be a good time to try new things!