Average dozen egg prices in 2016 are continuing to decline due to recovery from the widespread avian influenza epidemic after skyrocketing in 2015. In the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of a dozen Grade A large eggs in May 2016 was $1.68, down 28 cents (14.2 percent) from May 2015 prices, and $0.64 cents less than January 2016 prices (27.5 percent).
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summary of egg prices published in May in regards to backyard chicken farmers, “Egg prices are among the most volatile of food prices, typically peaking in the fourth quarter of the year and then falling in the first quarter of the new year. In 2015, prices were also affected by HPAI, which reduced the count of table-egg-laying birds in many Midwestern and Pacific Northwestern States.”The USDA report also forecasted that as the industry recovers from avian influenza, farm-level egg prices will continue to decrease 35.0 to 34.0 percent in 2016.
Updated July 14 2016
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2015: It’s good to have chickens laying eggs in your backyard. If your friends and neighbors aren’t as appreciative, your bank account should be thanking you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of an egg is continuing to increase in 2015 as the industry catches up with the losses suffered during the avian influenza scare last summer, and more consumers turn to eggs as cheap, effective sources of protein and embrace raising chickens for eggs. The price of eggs at the end of August 2015 was $2.94 per dozen. Just a year ago, the dozen eggs price was an average of $1.97, a 51 percent increase. In 1980, a dozen eggs cost an average of $0.84.
The spread of the avian influenza in 2015, which forced thousands of commercially produced birds to be slaughtered, has led to a high-demand, short-supply cost surge. The disease has affected supply more in the Midwest than anywhere else. California, which escaped major devastation unlike Wisconsin and Iowa, is already seeing prices decrease, although the USDA’s most recent egg report cited a decrease in demand for the reason. Prices should decrease as supply regulates, as a Wisfarmer.com story reported this week: “With less egg production and tight supplies as a result of the Avian Influenza outbreak, we expected to see the marketplace respond with higher prices,” said Casey Langan, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation spokesman. “Egg prices should stabilize and retreat once our nation’s flock is rebuilt.”
Demand has increased domestically as the USDA dropped cholesterol warnings it had attached to eggs for years, and more Americans are incorporating eggs into their diets. In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 10-year outlook through 2024, egg demand is expected to increase by nearly 15 percent, following trends of more personal consumption of eggs and a growing population.
Supply is expected to follow, as the USDA is forecasting that today’s pricing in 2015 will be the peak for years to come, although it does not factor in events like this year’s flu outbreak in future pricing. Around the world, dozen eggs prices vary greatly. Norwegians pay almost $4.21 per dozen, according to Numbeo.com, a cost of living website. The U.S. ranks 29th on their list for egg prices, with Venezuela topping the list at $6.92 per dozen. The Swiss were second, and pay $5.90 per dozen. In India, residents pay only $0.84. If you have backyard chickens that are producing eggs, this should give you confidence you’re doing the right thing. Not only , but it’s challenging to understand the egg facts on cartons and feel confident you are getting a superior product. To help save on the cost of eggs, you can consider food preservation methods such as freezing egg whites and yokes.