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Egg Prices Up because Laying an Egg Costs More

by 5m Editor
21 July 2008, at 12:45pm

US - Egg prices were reported to be high in March, peaking above $2.25 per dozen at the grocery store. Although prices have since come down, they are still well above the low prices consumers enjoyed a couple of years ago.

According to Cleveland.com, higher prices for oil and natural gas have a lot to do with it. They increase the cost of chicken feed and boost utility bills throughout the egg-production process.

The odyssey of the humble egg -- from hen to household -- is a graphic example of how soaring energy costs have led to escalating prices up and down the grocery aisle. At some point, increased costs pass through to the consumer. Exactly how and when is convoluted because supply and demand ultimately determine how much egg producers can get for their goods.

Simply put, the price of eggs over time has "to cover all the costs, or people are going to go out of business," said Paul Sauder, president of R.W. Sauder Inc., which operates an egg-processing plant near Winesburg in Holmes County.

"You can't produce eggs at a loss forever," Sauder said.

The production of Sauder's Amish Country Eggs in Ohio offers a good example of the role energy plays in the process, starting with the day-old chicks that are shipped to Rick Breneman's pullet farm in Smithville, near Wooster in Wayne County. Breneman raises the chicks until they are of laying age, about 18 weeks. That means burning a lot of natural gas to keep the young birds warm. 240,000 hens a-laying.

View the Cleveland.com story by clicking here.

5m Editor