New Jersey is taking a big hit in an industry that relies heavily on eggs…
The egg laying hen industry is being rocked to its very core thanks to a deadly Avian flu that has been spreading quickly through the Midwest. Nowhere is this being seen more keenly than at area bakeries. In fact, New Jersey is taking a big hit in an industry that relies heavily on eggs to make signature goods – bakeries. For example, Tod Wilson, who owns Mr. Tod’s Pie Factory, says he recently paid $75 for 30 dozen eggs at his wholesale supplier. In fact, wholesale prices for a dozen eggs has more than doubled in the past 30 days. To blame is the Avian flu – a disease that has wiped out tens of millions of hens that provide farmers – and ultimately bakers – with much-needed eggs. These huge price increases are hitting bakeries where it hurts – on the wallet.
Another owner, Brian Pansari of La Bonbonniere Bake Shoppes, claims that up to 90 percent of his sales involve eggs as a main ingredient; as such, his costs have tripled, going from $400 for eggs per week to $1200, according to NJ.com. These increases are impacting the bottom line of many bakers across the state. The catch 22 comes in here: bakers don’t want to put that increase on customers and hike their baked goods prices to lose loyalty and are instead eating those costs right now. The goal is to take a wait-and-see approach.
This egg shortage is said to be the biggest in history, even outranking the egg shortage of the mid-1980s. The prices in the Unites States have actually climbed more than 80 percent as July saw cartons more than double in cost – and in some cases tripling in cost. The shortage has swept to 15 states and has now killed 49 million egg laying hens, which represents 12 percent of the country’s entire flock. The flu outbreak began in December 2014.
Just last month, the retail price for a carton of eggs in New York totaled $2.49, double from April. Now in August those prices are creeping up toward $3 a carton. The UK is experiencing a similar shortage but it’s nowhere as severe as the United States. The U.S. has begun importing eggs from the Netherlands and Spain to boost egg supplies, particularly in the liquid egg industry which is what U.S. bakeries rely on.
The avian flu first began from the infected droppings of waterfowl that bore the virus. However, hope is on the horizon as signs of the virus seem to be slowing down. That being said, experts predict the flu outbreak will make a reappearance in the fall as cooler, damper weather prevail and water fowl begin to migrate south for the winter.
Till there’s a reprieve, bakeries and their customers will have to wait out the shortage to see where it settles.