BOISE, Idaho — The national average price of eggs has increased 49.1% from Nov. 2021 to Nov. 2022, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, a more recent timeframe shows a more drastic increase in the Treasure Valley.
KTVB documented the real-time cost of grocery-shopping staples in June at Boise stores. A dozen of Albertsons eggs came out to $2.19 while WinCo charged $1.78.
KTVB found prices Monday more than doubled; Albertsons charges $4.99 for that same carton while WinCo posted a $4.53 price tag. Both businesses had restrictions on how many cartons a person can buy at once.
McIntyre Pastures in Caldwell produces free-range eggs through their 2,700 laying hens. The family owned and operated company attributes the price increases seen in grocery stores to the rising cost of feed, fuel, packaging, and labor.
A nationwide avian flu outbreak played a significant role as well, McIntyre said. 60 million birds died from the outbreak across the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"So, the breeding stock is not there. You have breeding stock wiped out and you have no eggs to hatch new chicks - you can't replace birds that are getting old," Marie McIntyre said. "It's just a domino effect. And you are depopulating flocks that have been infected with the bird flu."
McIntyre Pastures has not been impacted directly by the bird flu. The farm has started to recycle egg cartons to cut its own costs. But the rising cost we see at stores from corporate producers are impacting regular people.
"I don't care where you go," WinCo shopper Alyce Milstead said. "Eggs used to be the cheap protein. I have six children, and we ate a lot of eggs. But no more."
Milstead is now retired and lives on Social Security; her 8.7% cost of living adjustment (COLA) should help ease the financial strain into the new year. However, Milstead admits she couldn't afford the cost of living today without the help of her children.
"I'm okay, but there are a lot of others who only get 400 or 600 a month," Milstead said. "I'm blessed. Without my children or family, I don't know how these people are surviving. That's the way I see the impact on a lot of people."
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