Free Range Eggs

High Egg Prices During Coronavirus Pandemic

By Kindness Crew

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We are all going through big changes right now. Even a trip to the grocery store is full of challenges, from maintaining a 6-foot distance from other shoppers to empty paper product aisles to glass partitions protecting the cashier you used to make small talk with. And in some cases you may see signs apologizing for higher prices on some items.

In the egg aisle, most of those signs say the grocer’s supplier has raised their prices. This is both true and not true.

At Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, we have not raised the prices we charge grocery stores, despite an unprecedented demand for our eggs.

Let us explain a little more about what is happening as it pertains to the egg market. People are spending 100% of their time in their homes. There are more family members there for more meal times, because no one is eating out, at work, or at school. Eggs are a great solution for easy, healthy, filling, inexpensive meals to feed lots of people, so demand has skyrocketed. Normally, when demand increases for something, and the supply is fixed (chickens can only lay one egg a day, no matter how nicely you ask them), prices have to rise in order to avoid shortages. That is how markets work.

And for most eggs, this is exactly what is happening. The majority of the eggs a store sells come from factory style farms (yes, even those that say ‘cage-free’) and are sold to grocery stores at a commodity price. No individual farm or supplier is big enough to set that price, the market sets it. That price has gone way up, so grocery stores are being truthful when they say that the price for their private label ("store brand") eggs has increased. However, smaller, independent farms and producers (like Nellie’s) can still set their own price. And it hasn’t gone up in our case, even though we are working around the clock to ship as many eggs as we can, while keeping farmers and employees safe.

Nevertheless, when a grocer has to raise the price of their private label eggs in order to cover their higher commodity egg costs, they typically raise the price on all other eggs as well, just to maintain the price difference between Nellie’s and store brand eggs. We have no control over that. What we can control is keeping our farms and packing locations running as efficiently as possible and honoring our pre-crisis prices so that it doesn’t make the situation any worse than it already is.

We are hopeful that this disruption to prices and supply in the egg aisle is temporary and that all of us will be able to return to a safer world again soon.

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