Inflation shows signs of slowing, but the price of one grocery staple continues its costly run. Why has the cost of eggs continued to trend so high at Southwest Florida grocery stores?
It doesn’t matter if the chicken or the egg came first—you’re paying more for both of them. In order to keep eggs in his cart, local shopper Robert Brutsman looks for a deal on the other things he wants.
“We like the buy one, get one free, and we like the snacks that are two for a certain amount of money,” Brutsman said.
But you rarely find BOGO eggs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, meat, poultry, fish and eggs went up 7.7% compared to last December.
Victor Claar, an economist at Florida Gulf Coast University, agrees that the trend is rotten.
“The main reason that egg prices are higher is because we had a nasty case of avian flu, or bird flu, in the States,” Claar said. “And to reduce the likelihood of contagion and even more chickens catching it, we culled. That’s a really nice way to say we reduced the chicken population significantly.”
Fewer chickens mean fewer eggs, which means higher prices. WINK News has kept track of eggs at the same Southwest Florida Target, Walmart and Publix for 1 1/2 years, and egg prices have increased more than any other item. A carton of 18 eggs at Target is hard to beat, costing $4.39, but that’s up from $3.79 in December. Walmart’s eggs jumped almost $2 to $6.65. At Publix, they still cost more than $8.
But there is a sunny side: Eggs dropped in price by 50 cents at Publix this month. For Brutsman, they’re still worth it.
“Just be careful with what we buy,” Brustman said.
For others, though, it may be worth laying off eggs for a while. If you’re following the best-buy date on your eggs, you might be throwing them away when they’re still good. One easy way to check if they’re safe to eat: put one in a tall glass of water. If it floats, it’s a bad egg.