© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bird flu outbreaks helping drive egg prices up in Massachusetts

Eggs for sale at Big Y supermarket in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Karen Brown
Eggs for sale at Big Y supermarket in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Shoppers at Massachusetts grocery stores have seen egg prices jump this year. A key reason for the increase is the deadliest outbreak of bird flu in U.S. history.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 57 million birds, including egg-laying hens, have been affected.

Steve Vendemia is the president of Hillandale Farms in Connecticut, which has three egg-producing facilities in the state and supplies the Massachusetts market. The company also produces eggs in Maine.

He said a Massachusetts law that took effect at the start of this year requiring only cage-free eggs be sold could have raised the price about 25 cents for a dozen eggs.

But the majority of the jump consumers are seeing is caused by fewer birds available nationwide to lay eggs.

He said Hillandale's farms don't produce as many as customers want.

"I have to go out on the open markets and buy those excess needs because this time of the year, the demand is so great," he said.

Vendemia said while Hillandale's Connecticut operations have not had any flu outbreaks this year, a company facility in Ohio did and four million birds were lost.

He said that getting new birds into production can't happen quickly.

"Once a complex is shut down, it has to be depopulated and that process for repopulating can take upwards of a year," Vendemia said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, egg prices rose 149% between November of 2021 and November of this year.

Vendemia said he expects egg prices could drop a bit after the holidays when demand is lower.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content