NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The avian flu outbreak has forced egg farms to kill millions of birds nationwide. You may have seen an increase in the price of eggs yourself. You really notice it if you serve up dozens a day.
“I would say, about a year ago, it was somewhere around 30 cents an egg, maybe a little bit less than that, and it’s been steadily rising ever since,” said Pete Maniatis, the owner of Zoi’s, a popular breakfast and lunch spot in New Haven.
While he used to pay 30 cents an egg, it’s closer to 50 cents now.
“How much can you raise the price of a bacon egg and cheese or an egg and cheese before it becomes unattractive to the customer to purchase?”
Last year’s bird flu season was worse and lasted longer than usual. Forty-six states, including Connecticut, have seen outbreaks. Nationwide, some 40 million chickens have been euthanized because they got sick.
“It takes a while to bring a bird back into production,” said Bryan Hurlburt, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture commissioner. “You’ve got to buy the chick. You have to raise the chick. You’ve got to get it to maturity, so there’s a lag time. It’s not like you can go get another widget, plug it in, and the machine gets going again.”
Hurlburt said only two small flocks of Connecticut chickens got the bird flu, and big commercial farms have ramped up biosecurity measures. Those farms also see prices per case already coming down.
“They’re expecting to drop 10 to 15 cents per day for the rest of the week, so there should be over a dollar decrease in the wholesale price in the very near term.”
Even though egg prices are starting to trend downward, do not expect them to return to where they were. There are other inflationary pressures on prices, like fuel and labor costs.