Egg prices tumble, but snack prices will make consumers grumble

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'All that and a bag of chips' isn’t what it used to be

Remember when eggs were $7 a dozen? Finally, that high-water mark is in the history books and out of our lives.

Now that the avian flu that took nearly 60 million chickens out of the egg-laying process is mostly in the rearview mirror, wholesale prices for eggs have dropped more than $6 – to 84 cents, according to USDA’s most recent egg market report

That was fast, huh? Yeah – so fast that industry analysts were caught off-guard.

“The recent rapid decline in egg prices has likely been a bit of a surprise when looking at how far and how fast egg prices have dropped for producers in the last several weeks,” Kevin Bergquist, Wells Fargo’s Agri-Food Institute sector manager, told Food Dive.

Now, consumers just have to wait until the grocery stores catch up with the price change so that their customer doesn’t feel like they’re overpaying when there’s no longer a reason to be.

This might take some time, though. The latest Consumer Price Index report had egg prices dropping 1.5% in April but still more than 20% higher compared to the same period a year ago. Bergquist told Food Dive that grocery prices should begin to reflect the decline in production costs over the next few weeks.

A bag of potato chips costs more than $6 now?

Eggs are just one example of how expensive food prices have gotten over the last year or so, but another OMG is happening without most of us even giving it a thought – the price of snacks.

Trying to save money, Americans have been pulling back on complete meals and counting on snacks to fill their stomachs as part of their eating pattern. FoodDive also reports that snacking now accounts for 27% of all food and beverage sales in the U.S., and more than half of consumers are snacking to treat themselves, according to SNAC International’s 2023 State of the Industry Report. 

So, the snacking industry has decided to make us pay for it. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that prices for snacks are 393.01% higher in 2023 versus 1977 (a $26.02 difference in value).

How does that shake out for a bag of chips? A lot. If you remember when a bag of chips was pocket change, close your eyes. The current national average price is $6.62 for "Potato chips, per 16 oz.". Ouch.

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