The cost of a dozen eggs has dropped about a dollar since August, when the price was roughly double from the previous year as a result of the worst outbreak of avian influenza in the nation’s history. But bird flu is only part of the reason egg prices were so high this summer.
"Producers were sort of racing to buy up product and demand was almost artificially inflated with fears that there were going to be supply constraints," says USDA agricultural economist Alex Melton, who specializes in animal products and cost of production. "I think at the movement right now, without a further outbreak, buyers are not still rushing to pick up every egg they can get....Once things get back to normal and cooler heads prevail the price tends to reflect the economics."
Right now eggs cost about 23 percent more than this time last year, which is more reflective of the nation’s current supply of eggs.
Melton says it may be as late as 2016 for egg producers to rebuild their flocks to pre-bird flu levels. This in turn will help bring the cost of eggs down to pre-bird flu prices.