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Egg Shortage Wreaks Havoc in Bakeries

It’s all due to the latest bird flu virus in the Midwest…

What’s the one main ingredient all bakers need in order to create delicious breads, cakes, pastries and cookies? You got it – eggs. And with an egg shortage gripping the country, the prices are going up because they’re in demand, leaving many bakeries suffering the results. It’s all due to the latest bird flu virus in the Midwest, resulting in some 33.5 million dead or diseased chickens, turkeys and other birds, according to Bloomberg Business. The businesses hit the hardest include wholesale bakeries and restaurants that use liquid eggs, with the cost of those so-called breaker eggs more than doubling in the last couple of months.

Stockpile and freeze liquid eggs in anticipation of a more severe shortage…

It’s being called the worst-ever outbreak of the bird flu virus in America, with Iowa taking the brunt of it all. In fact, this state lost about 40 percent of its egg-laying hens, spurring the government to admit this would be the first yearly drop in egg production in seven years. It’s also prompting bakers like Joe Greco of Chicago to stockpile and freeze liquid eggs in anticipation of a more severe shortage. A baker who usually uses about 600 pounds of liquid eggs each week, he now has seven times that amount waiting in the freezer in case prices go higher – a cost many bakers, especially small-time ones, can’t afford. Now, his freezer has seven times that amount because Greco worries that record prices are about to go even higher. Bakers just like Greco are scrambling to find the lowest prices, forced to stockpile what they can find.

An industry that uses eggs in more than 90 percent of its products…

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, bakers are seeing prices of $75 for 30 dozen eggs. In an industry that uses eggs in more than 90 percent of its products, bakeries are certainly seeing the effects of the shortage. They are struggling with the decision of whether or not to increase their products, fearing this could turn off customers who regularly count on them for affordable baked goods. Bakeries small and large – even restaurants like McDonald’s that uses eggs for his morning sandwiches – are feeling the crunch. Just to put this in perspective, wholesale prices for a dozen eggs in the Midwest was $2.62 this week, the highest ever, up 120 percent from $1.19 on April 22. One year ago, the price was $1.28 per dozen, according to New Jersey Online.

Consumers at the grocery store are also seeing the effects, with the price of one dozen jumbo eggs going from roughly 99 cents to more than $3. The higher prices have been keeping demand low in the grocery stores so far; however, bakers can’t get away from the higher prices, forced to make tough decisions about their business and hoping the market will stabilize. The price of wholesale breaker-eggs was $1.23 a dozen this week. One third of all eggs in this country are broken to be used in liquid products.

Unfortunately, it’s a wait-and-see game right now, with diseased flocks leading to higher costs and egg prices expected to rise more than 1.5 percent per one million affected hens.



By | 2016-10-19T10:29:52+00:00 June 18th, 2015|Avian Flu, Bird Flu, Cost of Eggs - California|0 Comments

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