The price for a breakfast of bacon and eggs is starting to skyrocket following an outbreak of Avian flu in the U.S. Midwest. The outbreak has reduced egg production by ten percent.
The wholesale price for eggs has jumped by almost 70 percent since the outbreak began in April meaning Americans already paying more for store bought eggs may soon be charged more for egg based dishes at restaurants.
Consumers have seen supermarket egg prices rise from $1.69 for a dozen Grade A large eggs in May to $2.19 this week.
Co-founder and CEO of the Famous Toastery restaurant chain Robert Maynard said “If you’re in this industry, especially the breakfast and lunch space, that’s all you really talk about. It’s a problem".
He said each of the chains six locations were paying $800 to $1,000 weekly for eggs which was “a significant hit to the bottom line".
"We bear the brunt of these price increases but there comes a point when raising prices is inevitable. We’ve been doing everything we can not to raise prices, but we’re going to be in a position where we have to.” Maynard said.
Prices of egg based products such as salad dressing, ice cream and baked goods are also expected to increase meaning weekly grocery budgets will be shot, but the biggest worry is what the Avian Flu outbreak will do for the economy overall.
At a meeting of the Senate Agriculture Committee earlier this week, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis said the outbreak was taking its toll on Midwest communities.
“Minnesota and Iowa, over the past year, saw somewhere around $1.6 billion in economic impact. For every job loss as a (egg) processor, we lose about two more other jobs in the supply chain, so these communities are very hard hit by this.”
The outbreak came at a time when there was a huge demand from consumers .U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures show egg consumption last year was the highest it has been for 30 years.
American Egg Board marketing senior vice president John Howeth said the huge demand for eggs was "because of the protein craze across the country.”
To help stem the rising prices, the FDA has allowed egg imports from the Netherlands for the first time in recent history, though it remains to be seen if these can be in large enough numbers to stop widespread price increases.