“Consumers are panic shopping and, much like we see ahead of a snow storm, they are purchasing staple items (milk, bread, toilet paper, and eggs). Except obviously this is on a national scale and for a much longer period of time,” said Brian Moscogiuri, director and egg analyst at Urner Barry, a commodity market research firm.
Retailers are ordering up to six times their normal egg volumes and have depleted the supply that producers were beginning to build for Easter, he said. “Buyers have paid huge premiums to secure loads.”
Wholesale egg prices have risen 180% since the beginning of March, according to Urner Barry, which publishes a daily benchmark for the industry.
When suppliers’ prices rise, grocers are faced with two options: Pass off the cost to consumers or take the hit to profit. They are doing both.
Dennis Curtin, a spokesperson for Weis Markets in the northeast, said the grocer has taken “limited pricing action so far.” Suppliers have notified the company that egg prices have increased.
Egg prices have increased by 14% at Morton Williams stores in New York. The company is frustrated that it’s paying double for eggs from its suppliers during a crisis.
“It is unconscionable that the egg industry has doubled prices because of increased demand. It is hitting low-income New Yorkers the hardest, as so many have lost their jobs working in restaurants and hotels,” said Avi Kaner, a spokesperson for Morton Williams.