Bird flu sends egg prices soaring as Western Washington shoppers feel the strain

Western Washington shoppers say they’re feeling the sting of soaring egg prices. According to the Consumer Price Index, over the last year egg prices have gone up 60% nationwide.

Fred Meyer is now limiting customers to two cartons each. According to spokesperson Tiffany Sanders, the avian influenza — commonly known as bird flu — has caused a major disruption in the U.S. supply chain. As of a week ago, a staggering 58 million birds were infected.

“Fred Meyer’s egg supply remains adequate,” said Sanders. “However, to maintain a supply that can continue to serve to serve customers, we are temporarily limiting in-store egg purchases.”

Another regional grocer, PCC Community Markets, says panic buying isn’t helping the crisis either. Grocery merchandiser Noah Smith contends PCC’s egg supply has not been as impacted as other retailers because it’s locally sourced.

“When the national guys starting get hit with that, that’s taking big numbers of eggs out of the entire supply chain,” said Smith. “I haven’t had too many reports of our local producers suffering.”

Turns out, sourcing eggs locally has saved Snohomish’s Grain Artisan Bakery from soaring costs, too. Owner Lauren Anderson orders thirty dozen eggs a week from her supplier.

“I really believe that cutting out the middle man is good for both of us.” said Anderson. “We’re not running into the chicken-egg crisis that most people are running into sourcing from the grocery stores.”

Anderson says the supplier before this one had some major issues. That producer decided to cull their entire flock due to rising feed costs, coyote problems and the avian flu.

“They didn’t feel consciously good about continuing to pass on that increase to their customers,” said Anderson.