The other day I was grocery shopping at my local Safeway. I have been very aware of what I have been purchasing recently to budget successfully this year, as it was a goal I set at the start of the new year. I have been looking carefully at each dollar I can spend crafting. A plan on how much I can spend on gas, groceries, and leisure each month. One staple within my diet has always been eggs. The excellent protein content and healthy fats at a relatively low price have always been a staple on my list. However, on this trip, things were different. As I approached the eggs and dairy section, my jaw dropped as I saw a new price tag stacked on top of the old 2.99 tags for an insane price of 11.99. I stopped, did a complete u-turn, and walked away with my tail between my legs. When I got home, my curiosity began to brew, and I slowly dove down the rabbit hole of why eggs are so expensive now, and the more I read, the more interesting things became.
In the current situation, soaring egg prices are due to a new avian flu outbreak. According to the USDA, over 50 million birds have been infected, making their eggs unfit for consumption. Due to this fact, we have a classic case of low supply and high demand. A rise in egg prices has ensued. Due to this, as economists and curious minds, we must ask how does affect us as consumers in the foreseeable future. For one, as consumers, our purchasing power has been eroded, and with a fixed income, consumers will be able to purchase less. Also, those who typically rely on eggs, such as lower-income households, will be disproportionately affected. Not only for the fact that they have less to work with and now have even less purchasing power, but they will also be struck with a lower desire to consume eggs.
For those unfamiliar with how inflation works, inflation is the blanket term economists use to illustrate the decline of purchasing power of the dollar. In economic terms, it is the rate at which prices and goods rise. In classic terms of supply and demand, the interest is less or has more value when scarcity is employed in the market. Due to the high demand and low supply, producers can raise prices because consumers will pay them. Eggs are not the only thing affected by this inflation as goods typically bought as complementary to eggs, such as butter and bacon, are also being raised as producers see this demand and eggs and can see that additional profit can be made on these compliments. Since the supply of eggs has rapidly diminished, and the market has stagnated, this has resulted in massive inflation. One of the most challenging aspects of this situation is that the eggs genuinely have no natural substitute. They are not similar to meats or foods with clear reserves like apples and oranges. Also, eggs are typically deemed inferior as they are relatively cheap. Due to these factors, consumers cannot downgrade to a more affordable option or swap for an alternative. The only two options have been to either pay the extreme markups or survive without eggs.
With these increases in compliments and the eggs themselves, restaurants need help with this price rise. This shift has led many egg-reliant breakfast chains such as Dunkin or Mcdonald’s to take temporary price increases, a thinner profit margin, or even potential losses in this crazy time. So with all the information present to us and the current situation, this begs the question of how long this thing will last and what we should do in the meantime. With the national average price up 49% from this time last year, we have been assured that our scientific minds are currently doing everything in our power with the current state to find solutions to this rise in the avian flu.
In the meantime, with eggs being the most present, there are a few substitutable breakfasts you could swap in for your everyday egg. One great choice is overnight oats or any oatmeal, for that matter. This grain is significantly fiber-rich with adequate levels of protein. You can also top this breakfast with berries, cinnamon, and honey to make it an outstanding breakfast. Another great option is a protein-rich smoothie. You can load this up with your favorite fruits, seeds, yogurt, and any other addition to make this a nutrient pour house, the perfect start to your day. My favorite substitute is a protein pancake. One can easily substitute the eggs necessary with greek yogurt to keep that batter-like consistency to make an outstanding breakfast. I will have all these recipe examples linked if you are interested.