Blame the Egg White McMuffin: High Demand and Healthy Fast Food Trend Driving Up Egg Prices

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Nick Peksa of Mintec.

For the past few weeks we have been looking at prices for products that are especially popular during the holiday period. And so we will continue this week’s gift of knowledge by exploring eggnog prices. The key ingredients for this are milk, eggs, sugar, a sprinkling of nutmeg to finish—and if you fancy it, a splash of alcohol as well. You can probably replace milk with rum (and sugar with sweet rum and nutmeg with nutmeg-flavoured rum). However, I don’t believe you can take the egg out of eggnog, so this week we shall explore eggs.


These are the current top five egg producing states (ranked by number of layers represented in thousands):

  1. Iowa - 51,900
  2. Ohio -28,100
  3. Indiana - 25,700
  4. Pennsylvania - 23,750
  5. California – 18,000


Despite production being up 2% in 2013, US shell egg prices have hit their highest level in over five years this November. Prices have been driven up by higher feed costs and a change in the demand, primarily from the export market.

International egg prices have also been supported by a high level of export demand, particularly from Mexico, where the domestic egg industry was hit by an outbreak of avian flu in August 2012. Mexico, together with Canada, accounts for the majority of US egg exports (did you read that as eggs-ports?). And as a result of poor production after the flu epidemic in Mexico, US exports are expected to increase in 2013 by 17% year-on-year.

Looking domestically, the current drive for healthier items from fast food restaurants has led to a new range of egg-white-only products. In fact, earlier this year, McDonalds launched the “Egg White Delight McMuffin” which has 5g less fat than the standard Egg McMuffin. As you can’t make an egg-white-only breakfast without breaking some eggs, the higher demand for egg whites has caused more whole eggs to be processed. The by-product of egg white is of course, yolks. With the higher numbers of eggs being processed, there is also now an oversupply of yolks. Their price has fallen in consequence and in August the price fell below egg whites for the first time in over six years.

But it’s not all bad news. Despite the high prices for eggs, if you can buy liquid yolk you should be able to drink some very cost effective eggnog. Sadly, you might need to purchase a tanker load (20,800 gallons). If you don’t want to go the tanker route, maybe the year-on-year decrease in the price for milk and sugar will help.

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