Bird flu main cause of egg price dilemma

SCHENECTADY – Whether it’s scrambled, fried or poached eggs you crave at your breakfast table, for anyone who’s noticed the price of eggs lately, it’s easy to understand why so many folks have lost their appetite.

At Mike’s First Prize Restaurant on Erie Boulevard in Schenectady, breakfast is served any time of day or night. That means eggs are always on the menu. For nearly a year now, owner John Mantas has been dealing with a daily supply chain dilemma.

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“We were notified just before Easter of this past year that there had been a problem with the health of the laying hens,” Mantas said.

It was the avian flu that killed off more than 43 million egg-laying hens across the country, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It has been a poultry predicament that has caused the price of one-dozen Grade A supermarket eggs to rise from $1.79 in December 2021 up to $4.25 in December 2022. Many people have noticed.

“It continues to increase,” said Linda Walker, of Arkansas. “The price was $7.99, now they’re $9 and some cents. That’s too much.”

People in the restaurant business have also noticed.

John Mantas purchases his eggs in bulk. He was paying in the neighborhood of $30 a year ago for a case of 360 eggs. That price shot up to more than $160, an increase of more than 400%.

“You know everyone says raise your prices, but a lot of my customers don’t have disposable income,” Mantas stated. “We want to keep our customers, so we’ve been eating it.”

It takes six to nine months for a new generation of healthy hens to reach egg-laying maturity. For an egg pricing dilemma to extend beyond that might not be easy for consumers to swallow.