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Going 360: Examining rising prices of eggs, impact on consumers

Fresh farm eggs
Posted at 4:22 PM, Feb 02, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The rising price of eggs is impacting how consumers eat, what they eat and how much they eat.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of eggs was up 60% annually last December.

KSHB 41 News is taking this topic 360, talking to:

  • Frustrated shoppers
  • A commercial farmer worried about the cost of production
  • An economist
  • A donut shop that must charge more
  • A home farmer who raises her own chickens

Shoppers

Ruby Stewart likes her eggs in the morning sunny side up.

What she doesn't like is the price increase her breakfast entails.

"I can't hardly find bargains," Stewart said. "It's putting a toll on everyone.

Similarly, consumers Gloria and Gene Vandenbosch say they've had to make adjustments.

“Being on a fixed budget, being retired … It definitely has a big impact on our food budget every month, so we have to make some hard choices," Vandenbosch said.

As prices continue to rise, Deborah Hoskin-Byers remembers a time when a dozen eggs cost 49 cents.

“Who would have guessed you would be spending five dollars for a dozen of eggs?” Hoskin-Byers said.

A commercial farmer worried about the cost of production

Phil Holman-Hebert and his wife own a small commercial farm in Oskaloosa, Kansas.

Twice a day all-year round, he comes to a coop to gather eggs from his 450 laying hens.

The couple sells home-grown products to local restaurants and farmer's markets, but lately, operations have been a tough egg to crack.

Holman-Hebert says the rising costs of production are poaching his budget.

“It is a combination of the inputs and costs to get a chicken fed," he said.

Holman-Hebert attributes the increase on shipping, the war in Ukraine, the ethanol industry and recent droughts in feed-producing areas.

Economist

Dr. Anthony Tocco, an accounting professor at Rockhurst University, weighed in on the rising costs.

"You have a limited supply with a certain amount of demand, and therefore prices are going to rise. It’s that simple," he said.

Experts say the Avian Flu on the west coast is hurting supply.

The virus has forced farmers to kill over 40 million hens, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Tocco says prices will eventually fall again, but only if the virus goes away.

“We’ve never had a persistent avian flu like we do right now," he said. "It just seems we can’t get it under control for some reason.”

Owner of Donutology

In the meantime, business owners like Andrew Cameron are left walking on eggshells.

Since donuts can be high up on the list of novelties, many people choose to cut the treat from their budget first.

“We realize our place in the market," Cameron said. "And yes, it probably is more expendable income.”

Cameron, who owns Donutology in KCMO, is trying to maintain quality and keep prices the same.

But even still, he's having to charge customers 15% more at this time.

“Over the last year, our food costs have increased 51%, and it’s just been tough," he said. “On a busy month, we’ll go through the equivalent of over 6,000 eggs here.”

He says it's not just eggs as the price of flour is also rising.

“We are just reacting to the market," he said.

Home farmer raising her own chicken

Melissa Kreisler raises her own chickens at the Red Bird Farm and Sanctuary.

“We started off with five and I was surprised at how hard I fell for them," Kreisler said. "They have really great personalities, and they are a lot of fun. And it’s just an added bonus that they provide us with food, too.”

Kreisler says animals always give back as much as is poured into them.

“When you walk out there and they run to you and love on you, it just makes you feel really good," she said.

For anyone tired of putting all their eggs in one basket, perhaps home farming may be a viable avenue.

“Start small, just get a few and make sure it’s really for you," Kreisler said.