The price of eggs in Harrodsburg has become front page news across the nation.
What started as a Facebook post by WLEX-18 has been picked up by media outlets including Newsweek, Yahoo, Mashed and the Today show. It’s the most media attention Harrodsburg has received in quite a while. What’s got everybody’s feathers ruffled? The Walmart in Harrodsburg was selling 18-pack cartons of eggs for $2 last week. We hope you stocked up, because the one time event is over.
“We’re committed to providing the best prices so our customers can save money and live better,” a Walmart spokesperson told Newsweek. “What happened involving the shipment of eggs to the Harrodsburg store demonstrates our ability to take advantage of these unique opportunities and quickly pass on those savings.”
The price of eggs has soared over the past year, which experts say has been caused by several factors, including inflation—which averaged at 6.4 percent over 2022, according to the federal government—as well as the biggest avian flu outbreak in history. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the outbreak began in January 2022. Approximately 43 million egg-laying hens were lost through December 2022, according to industry observers. Even as inflation tapered off nationally, the price of eggs were up by as much 60 percent.
There have also been accusations of price gouging. Farm Action, a group that advocates against unfair agriculture markets, has accused Cal-Maine Foods, the largest producer and distributor of eggs in the United States, of increasing “its gross profit margins five-fold after drastically raising the price of its eggs.” Farm Action notes that Cal-Maine, which controls 20 percent of the egg market, had not reported a single case of avian flu at any of its facilities as of December 2022.
Regardless of the reason, when the price of eggs, which are generally one of the cheapest sources of protein, go up, people pay attention. The original WLEX Facebook post drew more than 1,400 comments and 2,000 shares, with most commenters wishing they lived close enough to take advantage of the deal.
A quick check of Walmart and other local stores on Tuesday revealed that the price of eggs were back to normal, but there is good news. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, many producers replaced their flocks late in 2022 in preparation for Easter 2023. While the replacing of mature hens with pullets has resulted in lower production, many of the replacement pullets are now reaching mature production which the USDA is forecasting will gradually lead to an increased supply. However, the market is still fairly volatile, so in the short term, consumers will still be walking on eggshells.
So there’s the story of how the price of eggs in Harrodsburg became front page news across the nation. If our readers spot any other bargains out there, let us know. We’re trying to egg-conomize.