HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the national average cost of a dozen eggs is almost four dollars, which is by far the highest in the last decade.
Now with the holiday season over, consumers are also seeing an egg shortage, making it harder for local bakeries to buy in bulk.
As a result, local bakeries like CC’s Sweets in McAllen, are debating whether to increase prices and how that will impact their business.
Roberta Castillo, owner of CC’s Sweets, says, “I’ve kept my prices as low as I have for as long as I can, and if the eggs continue to increase in price, we will eventually have to raise the prices to make sure that we can make a living. Although I don’t know if the community will bear it.”
These circumstances have led Roberta to conserve as much as she can.
This includes pairing up with other local businesses also struggling.
“My best friend owns an ice cream company called Ice Cream and Bananas, and she only uses egg yolks, and I use egg whites for my macarons. So, we share,” says Roberta. “That’s really been helping us a lot. So, we’re going to keep doing that as long as we can and maybe even find a local farmer that’s willing to sell us eggs directly.”
According to UTRGV Economics Professor Gautam Hazarika, “Egg prices have risen like 49 percent over the past year. No other price of a grocery item has risen faster. The main reason for this is bird flu that has killed 40 million egg laying chickens.”
Local farms, such as Golden Farms in Edinburg, have also had to increase their egg prices due to the drastic increase in animal feed and equipment.
Hugo Ramirez Jr., owner of Golden Farms, tells ValleyCentral, “Feed was $320 per ton. And now we’re paying $640 and $680.”
Ramirez says due to the price increase, consumers are now looking to purchase their own hens to lay eggs at home.
For Ramirez, this means completely changing the way he runs his business.
“We’re trying to sell more chicks, chickens, hens,” says Ramirez. “Starting this new year, we’re gonna also provide services of incubators – like if a lot of people at home have their own chickens, but the hen isn’t laying eggs, we’re gonna offer incubator areas.”
Although businesses and consumers have had to adapt to these price increases, experts say with the holiday season over, the demand for eggs is expected to drop, bringing down prices.