Calling all 'Eggsperts'

CynicDecember 12, 2007

OK, who's the practical joker that's mispricing the eggs lately? $2.91 for a dozen eggs when I was at Target last week. Mind you, these are not the pasteurized, free-range or organic types of eggs. Simply cheap, only Grade A "large" (which are what used to be called "medium") and also was a brand that is known for being cheap, er, "value priced". (I used to get that brand when I ran the convenience stores)

I'm irritated. I simply will not pay that. At least with gas they blame a refinery fire, embargo or something. But I haven't heard anything about chickens going on strike.

My only thought is that they're being used in some new way. Fuel can't be the big difference all of a sudden. But, I'm used to 49¢ - $1.19 as a normal price range. And I enjoy eggs. But not often now.

Guess the good news is there's not many who can afford to "egg" someone's place!

I wish I was close to a farmer who sold them direct. My cousin tells me that out by his lake place, the local markets sell the local eggs for about $1/doz.

While I'm ranting, might as well mention grapes and turkey breast. Both are favorites, both were frugal and good value foods and they both have also gone crazy on price. And there's been a few times I was going to splurge on some grapes but I am having trouble finding good tasting grapes and especially for that money, they'd better be dang good!

I shall carefully step down from my soapbox now and see what your opinions are. How much are they running in your area? And what are your peeves? Vent away!

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$2.91 for eggs! Thats crazy!! I have noticed the price of eggs go up 2 Easters ago. Usually around Easter you can find eggs as cheap as 30-50cents. This past year they were on sale for $1. Now they are priced around $1.50-$2 on sale. I have been moaning about eggs for awhile but it seemed that know one else noticed. Who knew that eggs would become a luxury item?

The price of grapes have always been crazy in my area. And the quality is not good. There is a market in Chicago that i always stop at when im out there. Their fruit and veggies are outstanding. Their prices are even better. In season grapes are usually priced are 39cents a pound. I always come home with $20-$30 in produce when i go there. But its a long drive with gas prices so high that i dont get to go that often. So my family is stuck eatting overpriced tasteless produce.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I hear ya cynic. I noticed they $2.29 at WM a week or so ago. In the past month they have been on sale at a local supermarket for 99 cents. I also found they were $1.19 at Aldi's everyday low price in the past month. I sprang for an extra dozen at that price.

Living alone, eggs are something I can/will do without and just buy when they are reasonable priced...never really 'needing' or having to have them.

I've been wondering about this for a while. I wonder if one could maybe freeze eggs and them be fine for cooking/baking/ or frying (scrambled). I wonder if one could maybe just freeze them in ice cube trays, and then once they are individually frozen, pop them out and store...with my new Reynold's Handi Vac. I really don't see why they wouldn't be all right. Do you?
Occasionally when I buy too many (on sale) and don't get them used up, I end up treating the dogs to them. It would be so much better if I could just freeze them if I see I can't get them all used up in a timely fashion. I do use them past the date on the carton, but there comes a time when I draw the line on that.

Last week they had, and I bought the 3 LB bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breast for $5. That's been the frequent recent 'sale' price. I repackaged it into smaller bags (with a few breasts in a bag within a bag) and vacuum packed it...again, with the Handi Vac. Putting a bag within the vacuum bag affords me being able to reuse the vacuum bag, with no meat product actually coming into contact with it.
I found 'whole' pork tenderloin at $1.69 and sliced and vacuumed it too.

As far as 'grapes'...well, I have seen them recently at 99 or 1.19 a pound in the sale bill....did not see them in person though. I try to buy whatever fresh fruit or veggies are on sale, and if nothing suits my fancy, I'll just eat canned stuff from my well stocked pantry....home canned tomato juice, plums, pineapple (in orange jello with black walnuts-yum!)
Here is something I learned not long back. I always thought that when grapes were packaged in those huge (to me) 3 LBS or so bags, that that was the quantity the consumer had to buy. My local supermarket said I could buy whatever quantity I chose, by just rebagging them into a produce bag, and they would then be weighed at the register. I found when I was buying those huge bags, that I was sick of them b4 I could get them all consumed. Hmmmm...guess one could vacuum freeze them too as they do come in some frozen fruit mixes I've seen.
I get 2 sale bills with the newspaper each week. I check out all the specials, and then decide what I might want/need/ if I want/need to go to town that week.

Sue...who hopes to grow a much bigger garden in 2008 and put up a lot more than in past years.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:45AM
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I raise hens and sell eggs. currently, I get $2 a doz.

Feed costs are responsible for the rise in egg prices. But corn has been selling at $2/bu since the early 70's so I am not going to begrudge a farmer an increase in commodity prices.

A doz large eggs weigh 36 oz. That's 2 1/4lb. Try buying the equivilant of canned tuna, cheese,hamburger, sandwich meat for the same $1.50 per lb.

It may seem outragous...... but finally farmers are getting their cut of the consumer dollar. Gas and transportation costs are also a big cost. And to legally sell eggs -- you need to buy new cartons. For a small producer like me --35 cents per carton is the cheapest price I can find.

There are other reasons for the costs but you'd probably find them equally boring.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 2:34PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

There are other reasons for the costs but you'd probably find them equally boring.
Not boring at all...really quite good to know a bit about the other side.

Try buying the equivalent of canned tuna, cheese,hamburger, sandwich meat for the same $1.50 per lb.
You know, when one thinks of it that way, they really are quite a good value.

Thanks for posting.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 3:11PM
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My husband does most of the grocery shopping, I remember eggs being 79 cents for medium, 89 for large and 99 for extra large. That's how long since I've bought eggs. So I chexcked the box of eggs in my fridge-he paid $3.19 for XL. I am so shocked! Over three dollars for a dozen eggs-they're almost as bad as gasoline!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 7:04PM
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If I was sure the farmer was getting the increase, I wouldn't be bothered. I somehow have a suspicion there's someone in the middle getting it though. I know it's not the store that actually sells it to me, though.

I too am interested in more info on it. Seems like it was a sudden hit on the increase.

BTW, is it a Federal or State law about new cartons? I know some local sellers that reuse egg cartons all the time. And they're selling them in small businesses. Doesn't bother me since it's the local farmer who's selling them and getting a fair price for them, but I was curious about the carton thing.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 5:10AM
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Here in Iowa it is a state law to use new cartons. I don't always do it.......... actually, my customers often bring back my cartons for re-fills. BUT legally, I am to use a new carton for every doz eggs sold. But I am a very small operator and sell a few doz eggs out my back door.

Other expenses -- the average pullet (female chick) costs $3-4. They will not lay an egg for 5-6 monthes -- so I have a cost of $100 for 25 chicks and then another $270 for feed and they haven't laid an egg. The average hen will lay approx 300 eggs a year or 25 doz.

They need 14 hrs of light a day to lay -- so from Sept to April -- a light has to be in the coop. Here in Iowa, water is frozen from December thru Feb -- so you either change water 3-4 times a day or use a heated base. The base is $50 and I haven't had one that lasted more than 2 seasons yet. I've never calculated the electricity costs ..... but they are there.

There are also misc costs --- bedding (wood shavings, ground corn cobs) grit, waterers, feeders -- it all adds up.

I have yet to "make" money on my 40 hens. So why do I do it? Because there is nothing better than fresh eggs, because nothing makes you feel closer to your food source than taking a warm egg out from under a hen and making an omelet, because an omelet of morel mushrooms, fresh aspargus and goat cheese in May is an incredible experience -- when you have raised or gathered everything.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 8:37AM
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When the price of raw eggs goes out of sight, I use powdered whole eggs, which can be MUCH cheaper per egg. Be sure to do a unit price comparison because the price varies a lot from one brand of dried whole eggs to another.


Here is a link that might be useful: Powdered Dried Whole Eggs

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:41AM
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and the cost of gasoline to get the eggs to market is....not going down.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:22PM
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I was at Aldi today and got a dozen large Grade A for $1.50. Probably should have gotten a couple dozen! That's reasonable enough. When I ran the convenience store we used eggs as a draw item. We'd sell them for 49¢ and pay 89¢ to $1.19 from the wholesaler, plus delivery. I should stop by and see if they still do that. Doubt it though. Next eime I'm in the area and think of it I'll stop at one of them.

I agree though, fresh eggs are a treat. Must be something about age, because the older I get, the more I enjoy good eggs. And at any time of the day.

Bacon and eggs, or as I call them "pig & poultry"! I'm getting more and more like my father...

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 3:56AM
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As the government pushes people to turn more and more corn into ethanol, it drives the price of feed up.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 10:03AM
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Actually ... on USFarm Report today ... the consumer price index was studied to determine how the higher commodity prices (and ethanol) influenced food prices. Commodity prices were less than 4% of of the increases. Most of the price increase was due to packaging cost increases (plastics), advertising costs and transportation.

We have tons of corn in storage ........ we have not come close to low surplies in decades. Using corn for ethanol makes sense at this time. Here in the midwest -- we have been pumping gasahol and ethanol for 20+ years. And for 20 years -- it made no difference in commodity prices. The market has just been expanded. Look at the Chinese and the Indian buying habits (exports) for some of the increases in commodity prices. But we desperately need those exports...... can you imagine how low the dollar would be without them???? Ag products are really the last of the Amercian exports.
\ Cathy

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:14PM
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The past couple of months just about everything here has become more expensive. Butter has gone from 53p to 85p overnight, while a bottle of milk has gone from £1.50 to £2. Eggs have also gone up a lot. The price increases seem to have hit the cheapest products, mostly store brands, the hardest. Many of the national brands have stayed the same and some are now just a few pence different to the store brands.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 3:44PM
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I buy the organic/free range eggs so I hadn't noticed the price of the other eggs then my sister informed me of how expensive a dozen of eggs are now. I blame the gas prices for everything going up in price.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 10:38PM
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I attended a seminar on food pricing for restaurants and clubs and the impacts of the commodities market. The increase we were quoted was slightly above what clink found in the Farm report at 4.5 %. For us a slight increase of 4.5% becomes 3 to 4 times that to maintain our margins. So a 7 cent commodity increase on $1.50 eggs becomes roughly 30 cents making the eggs $1.80. By the time additional costs of transportation and packaging are added the prices increase even more.
That is the abbreviated version of 2 hours of lecture.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 2:25PM
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(sliding my soapbox back onto the stage, hobbling up to it, climbing up on it and clearing my throat....)

Another question: Has anyone else come to the same thing I have? Either the egg cartons are getting bigger or the eggs are getting smaller! I first starting getting irritated with the local restaurants when I'd order eggs and see these pitiful little things on the plate. Then I bought some and went THESE ARE LARGE???? Looked more like mediums to me. So I looked at "jumbos". I remember when it would be a tight fit to close the cover on "jumbo" eggs just a year or two ago. Not any more. They rattle around in the carton like much smaller eggs.

It must be larger egg cartons. They wouldn't be scamming on the egg sizes would they? Naw, couldn't be.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 2:27AM
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I noticed eggs getting more expensive, also. I found that Trader Joes has the best prices on plain white eggs at $1.19 in my area. Weird. Chicken pox maybe. :D

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 4:35PM
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clg7067, I noticed that too the last time i was at TJ. They also sell fine cheeses at the BEST prices.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 5:16PM
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Cynic, I agree and was just having the same converstaion with someone the other day. The "large" eggs in my area use to be the medium or small eggs. I've even had to adjust some of my baking recipes because of this. How can they get away with this? I thought egg sizing was a government regulation in agriculture, not an industry standard that could be changed on a whim like dress sizes. Maybe the government only regulates the grade of the eggs or has that changed too? I swear the eggs I've been buying lately often seem more like grade B.

Also I know that the grocery store eggs sold these days always peel nicely when they are boiled so they have to be weeks old or mishandled during shipping or storage. There is no such thing as fresh eggs anymore unless you buy them from the farmers market.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 8:10PM
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Its called inflation thanks to a devalued currency thanks to flawed government policy. The reason why agricultural prices are going up so fast for eggs is related to both transportation (energy) and feed costs (which is now going to produce more energy).

Eggs are still one of the cheapest complete protein you can buy at the store.

The only way to counter it is to produce your own food.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 7:36AM
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Well after reading this again, it just got me curious. I thought there was a definition to the sizes so I looked it up. They're defined by minimum weight to a dozen eggs as follows:
Jumbo 30 oz.
Extra-Large 27 oz.
Large 24 oz.
Medium 21 oz.
Small 18 oz.
Peewee 15 oz.
So, given the three more popular sizes of interest to me, it means that Extra Large are 12.5% more than Large; Jumbo are 11.1% more than Extra Large, and; Jumbo have 25% more than Large eggs.

So I got even more curious. I have a dozen jumbo eggs and a partial carton of large. I wondered if my digital scale would weigh them. Worth a try. Yep, it worked.

The jumbos were in the "cardboard" type carton. What are they, some sort of fiberboard thing or something? I don't know the correct term for it, but you know what I mean. It's the old fashioned type of "paper" egg carton. The carton with 12 jumbo eggs weighed 32.1 oz. I thought Hmmm, sounds about right, what does the carton weigh? I took out 4 eggs at a time and logged the results to get an idea on the weight of the eggs for variance. The carton, btw, weighed 2.0 oz. So I got my money's worth, though they DO move a bit more than they used to. So I wasn't gypped. I started doing some calculations on the value of large vs extra large vs jumbo. I bought the Jumbos btw because they were 2¢ more than the large and I knew that it was a better value, all other things being equal.

Sitting here thinking I'd share my findings, I got more curious. I knew I had a few "large" eggs left. How would they weigh in?

6 large eggs in a foam carton weighed 13.0 oz. OK. 4 eggs plus carton was 8.8 oz. I speculated the foam carton would be lighter than the other type, but how much? The foam carton weighed .6 oz. So there too, I guess they're what they should be. Now the question is why they looked so much smaller. The rattling can be explained two ways: 1) The eggs are smaller but more dense; or 2) The cartons have larger slots. Guess it doesn't really matter.

I found it interesting. The below website has a formula for calculating which size eggs are a better value. I found it confusing. I guess for me, going with the percentages are a bit easier. But someone else might find it interesting.

Anyone care to join me for some pig and poultry this morning? I'm putting the coffee on.

Oh, and I kind of shook my head in disbelief when I was looking ove the foam carton. They have Bible verses printed in it! Sheesh! Don't recall ever seeing that before.

Here is a link that might be useful: Egg info

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 7:20AM
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We have egg chickens, but with only three still surviving we do have to buy, especially at times of the year when they are not laying very often. I can tell you that the size of my yolks compared to whites are amazing. The store bought eggs have much more white than yolk compared to mine. My yolks are also thicker, gooier, and don't break so easily when cracked into the pan. Nothing to do with topic, but just something I've noticed.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 9:07AM
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I work for an egg company which sells frozen, liquid and dried to the large food companies. This is the highest eggs have ever been. There is a shortage of eggs to "break" to sell to these companies, and the price is higher than it has ever been. I asked my supervisor why, she said that alot of eggs have been exported, then the consumer segment gets them and whatever is left on the open market we buy and break. Expect any foods which use eggs in any way to go up, if it has not already.
Also there was a time where the egg producers were really not making anything, so many of them stopped raising chickens, as it was not profitable. Like a previous poster mentioned it takes 5-6 months to get laying hens.
We are hopeful that after Easter the prices will be going down. I started this job in June and have watched the prices soar and inventory go DOWN. It has been interesting! It is too bad we do not have any bennies that give us eggs! LOL

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 8:10AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I see the large are on sale this week for $.99 so I will be buying a dozen for the frig to use fresh and some to freeze individually for baking, cooking, or frying later.

I will then package them with my new Handi Vac, and they can be stored frozen up to 9-12 months.

Sue..all excited about an egg sale

Here is a link that might be useful: Freezing Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs and Dairy Products

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Ya know personally I don't see how Ethanol can be push food costs up. Or I guess more to the point I don't see why it HAS TO. My 3 uncles and my Grandma before she sold her farm all have taken money from the US goverment to NOT grow anything. I never understood WHY the US goverment would pay farmers to let there land be out of production. The argument I have heard is that it controls the cost of the commodity so that the growers can make enough money to live. Seems silly to me...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 10:19PM
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For anyone who can have chickens in their back yard, a hen will lay one egg a day for at least 3 years of her life. That's without a rooster. When I had 6 hens I was swamped with too many eggs. Now I'd give anything to have just one of those delicious and inexpensive eggs!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 4:52PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Well, eggs prices have sure taken a dive here lately. The week before last they were 89 cents for a dz large. This week I see they are on sale again, but at 99 cents (dz large)...still a really great bargain...imho. I see that is a savings (according to their ad) of just 30 cents off the 'normal' price, if one uses their in store discount card.

Cheese (8 OZ varieties) are 2/$3.
Seedless grapes (red or white) are 99 cents.
Boneless pork loin $1.99
Looks like I'll be eating high on the hog, and enjoying some other goodies at some very reasonable prices this week and maybe maybe much loger, just depending upon what I might get and freeze.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 8:43AM
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Enjoy it while you can Sue ---- We have thousands of acres of corn fields under water in the midwest. Right now -- corn is over $7/bushel.. That means higher egg prices, pork prices and beef prices.

And I don't want to hear about ethanol. Has nothing to do with food prices. Blame droughts in Australia and the economic expanse in China!! In 1995 -- American farmers grew 162 billion bushels of corn. In 2007 --68 billion bushels went to ethanol production HOWEVER American farmers grew 380 bushels of corn. More than enough for your corn flakes.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 3:14PM
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I've noticed eggs drop over the last month or so around here too. One store had them on sale for 99¢/doz. When I was at Aldi last week they were $1.39. Grapes have bee 99¢#. Picked up a nice chuck roast for $1.77# and some boneless country-style ribs for $1.88. To me, seeing these kinds of prices and then look at hamburger $2 or more is crazy.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 10:45PM
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I work for a large egg company. They went down and are on the rise again. You are right about the Midwest and the corn products and the eggs are going to go back up. We do projections for contracts for the large food processors who sell egg products to the food manufactures and they are goin up and up. Not like the were a few months ago, but up again. We also do shell eggs and that will go up again too,

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:37PM
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A dozen eggs is still a good deal as far as nutrition is concerned. They are a good way to feed kids and a family. Everything is going up, and it's scary.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 11:56AM
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I got such a kick out of the linked website.
Leave it to our cousins across the pond ...

Here is a link that might be useful: The Eglu

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 8:47AM
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