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Part 1: Love Eating Eggs? How Your Favorite Breakfast Food Explains the Law of Supply and Demand

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Who doesn't love to eat eggs? Personally, eggs are one of my favorite breakfast foods. They're so versatile — you can make scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, poached eggs, and more (although sunny-side-up is the best way to go). But, you may be thinking, what does my favorite breakfast food have to do with economics? The prices of this tasty staple are a great example of the law of supply and demand.

What is the law of supply and demand? It explains how the supply of a product and the demand for that same product affect the product's price. Supply is the overall number of a product or service that is available to consumers. Demand is the overall desire of consumers to purchase a certain product. According to the law of supply and demand, high prices are the result of low supply and high demand. On the other hand, low prices are the result of high supply and low demand.

Now, how does this law relate to eggs? I'm sure your parents know that egg prices have been crazy over the past year. In January 2022, egg prices started at $1.30, but ended at $4.25 in December 2022. Why the sudden change? The answer: supply and demand! There was an extreme avian flu outbreak during 2022, which led to 43 million chickens being put down. As a result, there was a very low supply for eggs, but demand for it was still high, leading to very high prices. In fact, supply was so low that egg inventory was 1/3 less at the end of the year than it had been at the start.

Luckily, prices are now dropping. Why? You guessed it — supply and demand! The avian flu outbreak is ending, so there are more hens and eggs to go around, leading to the supply of eggs being steadily restored. The demand for eggs is also mostly seasonal, with demand for eggs often dropping after Easter. As a result, demand is being lowered while supply is steadily rising, thus leading to lower prices. In fact, egg prices are now down nearly 80% from where they were in December, being just over $1.

These pretty little things cause a seasonal uptick in demand for eggs

Well, this concludes part 1 of this supply and demand mini-series. Stay tuned for future parts, and if you're looking for a new recipe for eggs, I recommend the Gordon Ramsay scrambled eggs recipe. It's very simple, but I promise that it will make you an egg lover for life.


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