INDIANAPOLIS — Looking at eggs in the grocery store likely gives you sticker shock these days! The latest numbers from the government show eggs have increased by nearly $2.00 per dozen in one year.
Poultry experts say the increase is due to several factors.
“That combination of inflation, high feed costs, fertilizer, fuel to transport things, all of those things are coming together,” said Rebecca Joniskan, Indiana State Poultry association president.
Plus, the impact of the ongoing Avian flu, which the state’s poultry association calls the largest animal disease incident in US history.
“We certainly hope that we have a decrease in the incidents of this disease,” Joniskan said.
Many people rely on eggs for a cost-effective source of protein. Gleaners provides a hub for food banks to purchase eggs through Hatch, which is a partnership between United Egg Producers certified farms and food banks.
In 2022 through November, the cost for eggs bought through Hatch was $1.65 per dozen. That price is now much higher.
“If we wanted to buy more for Gleaners or any other food bank that was willing to pay it, we buy it through Hatch at $2.25,” said Jeff McDonald, Fresh Connect Central senior director at Gleaners.
Even with that significant price increase, Gleaners says the Hatch Program is what allows them to continue buying eggs to support Hoosier food pantries.
“Without Hatch, I’m not sure that we would be buying additional eggs,” McDonald said. “Just because the prices on the open market are so unbelievably high right now that it really busts the traditional food bank budget for protein.”
Midwest Food Bank adds its team spent its money in 2022 on more expensive protein options because eggs cost so much and were difficult to find.
While the prices are high, local dietician Kim Galeaz explained eggs remain a relatively cost-effective food. For example, right now a breakfast of three eggs costs you roughly a dollar.
Galeaz also provided examples of other animal and plant-based protein sources she advises Hoosiers to enjoy:
Animal protein sources: dairy (milk, yogurt, Greek yogurt and cheese), lean pork & lean beef (look for words “loin” and “sirloin” and “round” for leanest, heart-smart cuts) and of course, poultry and seafood.
Plant-based protein sources: lentils, split peas, all beans (canned are wonderful and drain to cut almost 50% of that sodium), tofu, nuts & seeds.