(NewsNation) — Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
For the purpose of this exercise, it’s definitely the chicken and there’s less of them around lately.
According to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, the avian flu has spread through at least 34 states, killing more than 37 million birds.
Fewer chickens mean fewer eggs.
But farmers have got to feed the livestock they’ve got, right? Well, that’s costing them.
We’re in a global feed supply shortage right now, thanks to the war in Ukraine and widespread drought.
A farmer in Kentucky was paying $12 for a 50-pound bag of feed one year ago. It’s $19 now, and that’s no yolk when you’re buying by the pallet.
Let’s say the chickens are healthy and fed and laying eggs. Now, somebody has to drive them to a grocer near you.
Setting aside the national labor shortage and the likely increased wage of the driver, fuel prices were $4.15 per gallon nationally in March. This is a massive spike from $2.79 a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Now add one more X-factor: seasonality. The Easter holiday puts a crunch on the egg supply chain.
Bake all those price pressures into one omelet. Add a dash of inflation. And you get this: The price of eggs is up more than 25% in the last year, and nearly 60% since the onset of the pandemic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Instead of last spring’s national average of $1.60 per dozen, nearly everyone in America is paying more than $2, closer to $2.50 and as high as $6/$7, depending on the type of egg and where you live.
And that’s tough to swallow, any way you crack it.