Huge increase in food demand due to coronavirus sends wholesale egg prices skyrocketing 180%

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
By Paul Martin

by: Zoey Sky
Monday, April 06, 2020

If you’re used to starting your day with coffee, orange juice, bacon, toast and some eggs, brace yourself – the price of wholesale eggs in the U.S. has skyrocketed to a shocking 180 percent from its regular price. And reports reveal that increased buying due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is to blame.

It doesn’t look like the spread of the coronavirus will be stopped anytime soon. People are buying staples like eggs to add to their stockpiles, which is a normal reaction during times of disaster.

While it’s admirable that civilians are following recommendations to stay home during these troubled times, the surge of shoppers has contributed to stores experiencing supply shortages, leading to a shocking spike in prices.

The most recent Nielsen data shows that egg sales increased by 44 percent for the week ending on March 14 compared to 2019. Meanwhile, Walmart and other big grocers have implemented limits on purchases of eggs, cleaning supplies and other products that worried customers tend to buy more of.

Brian Moscogiuri, director and egg analyst at Urner Barry, a commodity market research firm, explained that consumers are buying staple items like eggs, bread, milk, and toilet paper in excess. But because the coronavirus pandemic is occurring on a national scale and for a longer period of time, the aftermath of bulk supply buying is more noticeable.

Moscogiuri added that retailers are ordering at least six times their normal egg volumes. The increase in demand has depleted the supply that producers were starting to build in preparation for Easter.

Now, buyers must pay huge premiums to secure loads of staple items like eggs.

According to Urner Barry, which publishes a daily benchmark for the industry, wholesale egg prices have skyrocketed to 180 percent since the beginning of March this year.

On March 20, the Department of Agriculture’s weekly report revealed that “[w]holesale prices for shell eggs rose precipitously through the week,” Additionally, companies were struggling to provide enough stocks to meet increased consumer demand for eggs.

When suppliers’ prices rise, grocers have two options: To make shoppers shoulder the cost or take the hit to their profits.

Desperate times have forced grocers to resort to both.

At a Stop & Shop in Boston, shoppers will notice the following sign: “Due to a limited supply and higher than usual demand, our suppliers have increased their prices on eggs. 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, commented that the grocer has decided to take “limited pricing action so far.” Suppliers have also notified the company that egg prices have increased.

At Morton Williams stores in New York, egg prices have gone up by 14 percent. The company is understandably frustrated that it has to pay double for eggs from its suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Avi Kaner, a spokesperson for Morton Williams, shared that it is outrageous to see the egg industry doubling their prices because of increased demand. The move is affecting low-income New Yorkers the hardest, especially since many of them have lost their jobs at restaurants and hotels.

If there is anything to learn from this scenario, it’s that being prepared and setting up your stockpile ahead of time is crucial for when SHTF.

The Rest…HERE

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