Price of eggs, chocolate remain higher than usual amid Easter festivities

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Inflation and other factors related to the U.S. economy continue to wreak havoc on Americans, and the price of Easter essentials, including eggs, chocolate and candy, remains at near-historic highs.

The average price for a dozen grade A eggs in cities throughout the United States sat at around $2.99, according to February data provided by the Federal Reserve. That price is more than double the cost of a dozen of the same eggs in January 2021, when the average price sat at $1.46.

In recent weeks, eggs have dropped slightly in price but remain high compared to 2021 prices.

Despite the fluctuating prices of the high-quality protein source, Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, argued eggs are themost affordable protein, bar none.”

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“For less than (50 cents) for two eggs, you get an enormous amount of protein and an amazing meal,” Metz told FOX Business. “I think, relatively speaking, while egg prices are slightly elevated right now, overall they’re an incredible value and incredibly affordable. I would argue, and I know I’m biased, it’s the best protein that money can buy.”

Metz said the overall wholesale price for eggs is “trending downward.”

“The USDA has reported that prices for eggs have been dropping since February and are down about 33%. And year over year they’re down about 25%. Right now, they’re averaging about $2.40 a dozen,” she explained, a nearly 60-cent drop since February when compared to Federal Reserve estimates.

The average cost of a dozen grade A eggs hit a 12-year low in June 2019, costing consumers $1.20. A dozen of the same eggs were priced, on average, at $1.24 in June 2006.

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The COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues had an impact on the price of a dozen eggs, with the average price surging to $2.01 in April 2020 before dropping to $1.32 in August 2020. Egg prices continued to rise after that date, with a more than 80-cent increase noted by the Federal Reserve from March 2022 to May 2022, when prices leaped from $2.04 per dozen to $2.86.

The average cost of a dozen grade A eggs hit an all-time high of $4.82 in January 2023, before slowly dropping to $2.04 in August 2023. Ever since, the price has slowly ticked back up.

In addition to the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain issues, an outbreak of avian flu dealt a devastating blow to poultry producers and severely curtailed the egg supply in 2022 and 2023, leading to higher prices.

Noting recent bird flu outbreaks in December and January, Metz said there is still alower supply” than in previous years, which also impacts the price of eggs. Metz said the cleaning and sanitation measures that are being taken also lead to a “lag time” for replacing many of the birds affected by the sickness.

Speaking about the “incredibly high demand” for eggs around the Easter season each year, Metz noted that “3 billion eggs” are estimated to be consumed this season.

“I think that is just a testament to how much consumers value eggs as part of their holiday tradition and their holiday cooking,” she said.

Americans have been known to spend heavily on Easter each year, but that spending in 2024 could be lower than what it has been in recent history.

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted earlier this month that consumer spending will reach a total of $22.4 billion this Easter, a more than $1.5 billion drop from last year’s $24 billion spent. Of that spending, the NRF predicted Americans will spend $3.1 billion on candy, down from $3.3 billion in 2023.

Chocolate eggs and bunnies are among the festive treats that have become staples for many Easter baskets around the country and world each year.

Similar to eggs, the price of chocolate and candy has also ticked up in recent years.

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The price of chocolate has soared in recent years partly due to a surge in the price of cocoa, a key ingredient for chocolate that recently surged to an all-time high of $10,000 per metric ton on global commodity markets for the first time.

The spike in cocoa prices is about quadruple the cost a year ago, when it was trading at $2,612 per metric ton at the end of March 2023, according to Business Insider market data. It now sits at around $10,440 per metric ton.

Shifting weather conditions, as well as crop diseases, continue to have a negative impact on the production of cocoa in West Africa, which is home to roughly 70% of global cocoa production.

In October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase in the prices of candy and chewing gum, noting a 7.5% increase from September 2022 to September 2023. Compared to 2013 data, the prices for gum and candy in September 2023 were 39.7% higher.

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While government officials tout data that shows annual inflation is down to 2.4% from a 40-year high of 7% in June 2022, Americans who remember what they paid for everyday goods just three years ago aren’t feeling much relief.

During his State of the Union speech earlier this month, President Biden proclaimed “wages keep going up and inflation keeps coming down.”

“Inflation has dropped from 9% to 3% – the lowest in the world. And trending lower,” he said.

Grocery prices surged more than 21% since the start of 2021, and while prices for some items have come down from their peak, there’s little expectation prices will fall to where they used to be.

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“The prices of some things will decline. Others will go up. But we don’t expect to see a decline in the overall price level. That doesn’t tend to happen in economies, except in very negative circumstances,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said during an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired in February. 

“If you think about the basic necessities, things like bread and milk and eggs and meats of various kinds, if you look back, prices are substantially higher than they were before the pandemic.”

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.

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