LUBBOCK, Texas — The recent costs of food have been hard to swallow for many families. Over the last couple of months, one staple has almost hit its breaking point. If you’ve been to the grocery store lately and had eggs on your list, you may’ve been shell-shocked by the price tags. Not only is it affecting customers, but local restaurants that rely heavily on eggs are feeling the financial stress as well.
“Being a breakfast place, it’s especially hard because we serve so many eggs,” said Mark Murray, owner of The Toasted Yolk Cafe. We go through almost 4,500 eggs a week, so it does hit the wallet.”
Murray opened The Toasted Yolk Cafe in November 2022. Since then, he said he’s seen the cost of eggs double in just two months.
“We’ve seen some increases here and there and in some other areas, but nothing like eggs,” Murray said. “Unfortunately, eggs are the thing we buy most. We buy more eggs than anything else.”
The national average price for a dozen eggs was $4.25 in December 2022, up from $1.79 the year before.
Josh Maples is an extension economist who said the bird or “avian” flu is the main reason behind the soaring prices.
“The latest estimates say about 57 million birds were affected by this last year,” Maples said. “Of that number, about 40 million of them are egg-laying chickens. That’s a pretty big total. We typically have about 300-330 million chickens laying eggs each month.”
Maples said some birds have died from the virus, but majority have been culled through flock depopulation to try and stop the spread of the disease. This is the deadliest U.S. bird flu outbreak in history.
“That’s tightened our supply of eggs that we had as we went into the holiday season, which is a really big demand time of the year for for eggs,” Maples said.
Maples said the sticker shock isn’t stopping buyers.
“Even as we have higher prices, we’re still going out and purchasing more eggs than we did last year, so you really put those two pieces together, you’ve got tighter supplies, strong demand for eggs, and that’s the recipe for these higher prices that we’ve seen over the last couple of months.”
Murray said for now, he will take the brunt of the high egg prices and will not be raising his menu prices any time soon.
“I’m not planning on passing that cost on to anybody, including employees,” Murray said. “I’m not changing wages or anything like that because I do think that this is probably short term. Right now, we’re just gonna absorb it and try to do our best with what we’ve been given.”
The good news is relief from this eggflation is on the horizon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent Egg Market News Report shows that egg prices are on a downward trend.
For more information on The Toasted Yolk Cafe, visit their website.