Egg prices are skyrocketing because of coronavirus panic shopping

Americans are stockpiling eggs during the coronavirus crisis as they cook more meals at home. That's leading to supply shortages and a spike in prices at som...

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 2:01 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 4:00 PM

Americans are stockpiling eggs during the coronavirus crisis as they cook more meals at home. That's leading to supply shortages and a spike in prices at some supermarkets.

Egg sales increased 44% for the week ending on March 14 compared with a year ago, according to the most recent Nielsen data. Walmart and other big grocers have implemented limits in recent days on purchases of eggs, cleaning supplies and other products that are in high demand from customers.

'Consumers are panic shopping and, much like we see ahead of a snow storm, they are purchasing staple items (milk, bread, toilet paper, and eggs). Except obviously this is on a national scale and for a much longer period of time,' said Brian Moscogiuri, director and egg analyst at Urner Barry, a commodity market research firm.

Retailers are ordering up to six times their normal egg volumes and have depleted the supply that producers were beginning to build for Easter, he said. 'Buyers have paid huge premiums to secure loads.'

Wholesale egg prices have risen 180% since the beginning of March, according to Urner Barry, which publishes a daily benchmark for the industry.

'Wholesale prices for shell eggs rose precipitously through the week,' the Department of Agriculture said in its weekly report Friday. Companies were struggling to 'maintain sufficient stocks to meet a heightened level of consumer demand.'

Grocery Outlet President Robert Sheedy noted price inflation on eggs during a call with analysts on Tuesday.

When suppliers' prices rise, grocers are faced with two options: Pass off the cost to consumers or take the hit to profit. They are doing both.

'Due to a limited supply and higher than usual demand, our suppliers have increased their prices on eggs,' a sign posted at Stop & Shop in Boston said. 'As a result, you may see higher prices starting Saturday, March 21, as well as potential interruptions in supply.'

Dennis Curtin, a spokesperson for Weis Markets in the northeast, said the grocer has taken 'limited pricing action so far.' Suppliers have notified the company that egg prices have increased.

Egg prices have increased by 14% at Morton Williams stores in New York. The company is frustrated that it's paying double for eggs from its suppliers during a crisis.

'It is unconscionable that the egg industry has doubled prices because of increased demand. It is hitting low-income New Yorkers the hardest, as so many have lost their jobs working in restaurants and hotels,' said Avi Kaner, a spokesperson for Morton Williams.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2527230

Reported Deaths: 56169
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33439110849
Queens31559610296
Suffolk2398773609
Nassau2145703296
Bronx2078026754
New York1682394637
Westchester1437172340
Erie1065781950
Richmond890341936
Monroe845321188
Orange57620920
Rockland53178779
Onondaga52166762
Dutchess35671499
Albany30915390
Oneida28720589
Broome24552407
Niagara24076397
Saratoga20342201
Ulster17300280
Schenectady16779228
Rensselaer14839167
Putnam1250998
Chautauqua12449175
Oswego11708113
Chemung10966156
St. Lawrence10598127
Steuben10185173
Ontario9378110
Jefferson892476
Cayuga8674107
Sullivan849883
Wayne820284
Cattaraugus7752115
Genesee7038132
Herkimer6831128
Clinton675040
Tompkins652659
Fulton6365104
Madison6220102
Montgomery5993141
Livingston575571
Warren550184
Cortland535780
Tioga513072
Columbia5025111
Chenango470686
Allegany464197
Washington464167
Otsego459255
Wyoming440758
Greene440186
Orleans435587
Franklin430021
Lewis362138
Delaware357448
Seneca274663
Essex232731
Schoharie230121
Yates165728
Schuyler154417
Hamilton4383
Unassigned15130
Out of NY0318
Utica
Mostly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 42°
Oneonta
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Herkimer
Mostly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 42°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 42°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Chapter Aesthetic October Giveaway
Cool To Be Kind 2021
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve