Actually finding eggs on store shelves has been harder, but the average price of eggs has risen — meaning Americans are spending a lot.
Grocery prices for main household staples have increased at an alarming rate, but the pricing of eggs has skyrocketed. And the rising price of eggs at Walmart, Costco, Aldi, and other stores in the US is putting a large dent in household budgets.
Americans could spend over $2 million on eggs in February
In February 2019, the average weekly price of a dozen eggs ranged from $1.02 to $1.33, for an average of $1.19 for the month. By the first week of February 2023, the US Department of Agriculture reports that the price of a dozen eggs nearly tripled to $3.13.
If Americans buy the same number of eggs this February that they have in each of the past four years — about 747,040 cartons, on average — spending on eggs alone will top $2.3 million this month.
Compare that to February 2019, when Americans spent a collective $848,000 (or nearly $1 million in today's dollars) buying the same number of eggs. On average, between 2019 and 2022, Americans spent $962,000 on eggs each February.
Why has the price of eggs skyrocketed?
Pandemic-driven inflation and an avian flu outbreak that crushed the national egg inventory pushed egg prices to record highs last year. The shortage means that fewer eggs are on the shelves now, however, so Americans may not be able to buy the same volume of eggs that they have in recent years.
The USDA hasn't published data on egg purchase volume, which is typically released weekly, since December 19. Nonetheless, egg spending this month could eclipse averages in the last four years, if only for the fact that prices have climbed so steeply.
The USDA doesn't share data on how much grocers charge for a dozen eggs, so we used wholesale prices in our calculations. But stores are known to mark up prices to generate a profit, which means shoppers are likely paying even more than the prices cited here.
How egg spending has changed in recent weeks
Egg consumption has increased over time in US households as more people use them as a quick family meal and a main source of protein, according to a report from the USDA. Egg consumption peaked in 2019 at around 292 eggs per person per year. While it has declined slightly from that high, we're still eating a lot more eggs than we did a decade ago.
Egg prices are still much higher than past years, but prices have declined so far this year. The average price for a dozen eggs at the beginning of January was $5.25. By the end of the month, that same dozen eggs cost an average of $3.37. Americans bought an average of $883,000 worth of eggs in the month of January, looking at the years from 2019 to 2022.