Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Why egg prices are rising in US, India and across the world | India News

NEW DELHI: The recent outbreak of bird flu has led to a significant increase in egg prices worldwide, impacting consumers and industries alike. After a brief respite in 2023, avian influenza has resurfaced, affecting poultry facilities across the United States, Japan, and other countries, which in turn has pushed the cost of eggs higher, a CNBC report said.
Sudden surge in prices due to avian flu
David Anderson, a professor and food economist at Texas A&M University, explained the direct cause of the soaring egg prices: “The reason for the big surge in egg prices is HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) hitting egg farms and killing chickens and cutting egg production.” The impact in the US has been particularly harsh, with over 14 million egg-laying chickens dying in November and December 2023 alone. The last 30 days have seen more than 8 million birds among America’s commercial flocks remain infected, exacerbating the situation.
Global impact and consumer reaction
Countries worldwide, including the US, EU, Russia, South Africa, India, and Nigeria, are facing historically high egg prices, according to Nan-Dirk Mulder, a senior analyst at Rabobank. This has led some consumers to start stockpiling eggs in anticipation of further price increases. One user on the social media platform X shared, “Stocking up on eggs since I’m assuming they’ll be $7/dozen again in a few weeks.” Others have turned to alternative strategies, like freezing eggs, to manage costs and maintain supply, the CNBC report said.
Varied reasons for price increases
In addition to bird flu, other factors have contributed to rising egg prices globally. In Mexico, a severe heatwave has caused significant hen fatalities, pushing prices up by 30%. Japan, the second largest consumer of eggs per capita, has reported bird flu cases across several prefectures, leading to price hikes of over 20%. Similarly, in Indonesia, prices for purebred chicken eggs have risen more than 10% since the start of the year.
As meat prices reach record highs, eggs have become a cost-effective alternative for many households. “We have had record high beef, pork, and chicken retail prices so eggs can be a substitute, meaning that egg prices would increase,” Anderson noted. For those looking to extend the shelf life of their eggs, the US Department of Agriculture advises that “frozen egg products will remain safe indefinitely,” though they are best used within one year for optimal quality.
(With inputs from agencies)