Get updates delivered to you daily. Free and customizable.
Eggs and bacon are finally getting cheaper
By Jason Lalljee,
The cost of eggs is finally falling, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That's after months of high prices due to the impact of inflation and the avian flu.
The cost of other breakfast staples, like bacon, fell in February as well.
Brunch is about to get a lot easier again.
That's because the cost of eggs and bacon has finally decreased after five months of soaring prices, due to inflation's impact on food coupled with a deadly avian flu that's killed a record-breaking 58.2 million farm birds across the US.
Inflation cooled down overall, and egg prices fell 6.7% last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index release on Tuesday. The price of bacon also decreased by 1.5%, and even cheese and orange juice experienced modest declines in cost.
That means it's the best time in months to grab breakfast at the deli.
Inflation impacted the cost of eggs as the avian flu began to spread in earnest last February. The average price of a dozen eggs surged nearly 60% last year to over $3.70; and in seven states, it more than doubled.
By December, the average price was $4.25 for a dozen, more than twice what they cost a year earlier, per the CPI. UrnerBarry, a market research firm that analyzes the wholesale food industry, told CNBC that the cost of a dozen eggs hit a peak of $5.43 one week in December. But things have been looking up since then.
Like other parts of the food industry, egg farmers reported that inflation — mainly due to the increased costs in energy and feed due to Russia's war with Ukraine — made their input costs higher, which explained the rising sticker price.
"This year, my feed cost has jumped 26%, my electric cost is up 30%, and now my cost of cartons is up 45%," Ron Eichner, who owns Eichner's Family Farm in Wexford, PA, told NPR in January. "You know, these are things that you have to escalate now into your retail product."
And losing millions of chickens at once is hard to rebound from.
"Laying hens take months before they reach their laying potential," Rodney Holcomb, an agricultural economics professor at Oklahoma State University, told The Hill in January, adding that it can take ten months for those hens to reach full maturity.
The egg news is welcome, especially as food prices increased slightly overall, by about 0.4% compared to January's 0.5% increase. The price for frozen vegetables remains at an all-time high, for instance, increasing by nearly 5% last month; the cost of bread, milk, and seafood all increased as well.
But Americans are consistent about their egg consumption — they consumed an average of 278 per person last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
And Americans have been hatching their own plans to keep up; many have bought their own backyard chickens recently, which experts told Insider's Juliana Kaplan isn't as cheap or easy an enterprise as it sounds.