Egg prices crack records thanks to coronavirus panic shopping

Egg prices have cracked fresh records as the coronavirus crisis sent shoppers scrambling for yolks.

The wholesale price for a dozen “Midwest large” eggs tripled over the course of last month to an all-time high of $3.09 on March 27, according to Urner Barry, which tracks daily food prices.

The spike came as coronavirus panic pushed shoppers to stock up on staples like eggs, leading grocery chains such as Wegmans and Texas-based H-E-B to limit how many they can buy.

“Retailers are increasing the price on the shelf. They’re limiting the number of eggs the consumer can buy in one store visit,” Urner Barry director Brian Moscogiuri told The Post.

Egg orders have recently come in anywhere from two to six times above normal levels, according to Moscogiuri. Market-research firm Nielsen also reportedly recorded a nearly 48 percent jump in US egg sales in the week ending March 28, compared with the same period last year.

The US’s sudden hunger for eggs came as producers built up their inventories ahead of Easter, when demand is normally elevated — and that has helped stave off an even deeper shortage, according to Moscogiuri.

“Had this happened a week from now … they would have potentially not had that inventory to draw from and maybe had fewer birds to draw from as well,” he said.

Since March 27, egg prices have come down somewhat — just in time for the traditional Easter egg hunts. A dozen Midwest large eggs — the industry’s price benchmark — were going for $2.59 as of Tuesday, he said.

That’s still well above where eggs were selling before the crisis. In the first week of January, for example, a dozen Midwest large eggs cost just 79 cents, the Urner Barry data shows.

The recent price declines is due in part to egg producers finally figuring out how to direct supply intended for now-shuttered restaurants to the retail market, Moscogiuri said.

“Plus the consumer hoarded eggs over the last three weeks, so you’re thinking that the consumer probably has some more eggs in their refrigerator as well,” Moscogiuri added.

Filed under 4/7/20