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Egg prices to rise 59% in 2022 — Group accuses egg suppliers of ‘rigging’

Top line

As egg prices have risen 59% to an average of $4.25, one advocacy group claims egg suppliers are “in a collusive scheme” to keep prices high to maximize profits.

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Basic facts

Farm Action, an advocacy group critical of big agribusiness, said in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that egg producers, including Cal-Maine Foods and Rose, should be investigated for “price gouging” and “price-fixing.” Acre Farms.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the higher prices for 2022 were mainly due to the outbreak of bird flu, which affected 58 million chickens as of January.

Egg producers saw a 40% increase in profits last year, according to Farm Action, and blame bird flu and inflation for turning it into a “huge profit-making opportunity”, the group said.
Cal-Maine Foods, one of the nation’s largest egg producers, denied the allegations, as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Max Bowman told CNBC that the bird flu would increase labor, chicken feed and fuel costs. contributed to the increase in egg production costs.

Basic background

Nationwide, egg prices hit record highs in 2022 as they sold for more than double the 2021 average ($1.78). Bird flu began in Iowa, the largest egg producer in the US, in February 2022 and hit 47 other states before spreading. A previous outbreak of bird flu in 2015 affected 21 states and resulted in the deaths of 50 million birds to prevent the spread of the flu, making it the worst animal health incident at the time, according to a USDA report.

The main critics

While Farm Action is pushing the FTC to investigate egg producers for the sudden jump in egg prices, economists believe it’s current events that have affected supermarket prices. “I don’t think we’ve seen anything that makes us think there’s anything other than a normal economy right now,” Amy Smith, vice president of Advanced Economic Solutions, told CNBC. “I think it was just a perfect storm that came together.”

Additional readings

Why are egg prices still high? It’s not the reason you think ((Forbes)

Flu, feed and fuel made eggs really expensive (Forbes)