“Consumers are buying panic and, just as we are facing a snowstorm, they are buying staple items (milk, bread, toilet paper and eggs). Besides being obvious on a national scale and for a much longer time,” said Brian Moscogiuri, director and egg analyst at Urner Barry, a market research company.
Retailers order up to six times their normal egg volume and have lost the offer that producers began to build for Easter, he said. “Buyers have paid huge premiums to secure loads.”
Wholesale egg prices have risen by 180% since the beginning of March, according to Urner Barry, who publishes a daily benchmark for the industry.
As suppliers’ prices rise, grocery stores face two alternatives: distribute costs to consumers or benefit. They both do.
Dennis Curtin, spokesman for Weis Markets in the Northeast, said the grocery business has taken “limited pricing measures so far.” The suppliers have informed the company that egg prices have risen.
Egg prices have risen 14% in New York’s Morton Williams stores. The company is frustrated that it pays double for eggs from its suppliers during a crisis.
“It’s impossible for the egg industry to have doubled prices due to increased demand. It’s hardest for low-income New York people, as so many have lost jobs in restaurants and hotels,” said Avi Kaner, Morton Williams spokesman.