AMES, Iowa — The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has released a new report estimating the extent to which COVID-19 is currently impacting the U.S. egg industry.
“We have so many people who are confused about how egg farmers can be losing during this pandemic,” said Maro Ibarburu, associate scientist and business analyst for the Egg Industry Center (EIC). “It was widely covered that prices for shell eggs hit record highs, but it was less known that other types of eggs (liquid) have hit record lows and can't find a market for their product. We hope that the report explains some of the dynamics that are occurring.”
The special report titled, "Preliminary estimation of the impact of COVID-19 on egg prices and producers' revenue," outlines that while eggs are in demand at the grocery story, the demand for eggs used in restaurants and other hospitality venues, like hotels, has nearly come to a halt. The make up of the farms that supply each of these markets is very different and affects the ability of the industry to adjust.
The report reveals that prices for liquid egg are as low as 8 cents/lb., which is cheaper than a gallon jug of retail purified water (priced at 9.6 cents/lb. during the same timeframe). These prices mean egg farmers can't cover the expense of feed for the hens and can't find a home for their product that keeps coming each day. The U.S. liquid egg industry is more than $110 million below the 10-year historical April average. On the other hand, the shell egg market experienced a surge in demand that resulted in a very high, but short-lived spike in prices.
The Egg Industry Center was established at Iowa State in 2008. Its mission is to add value to the egg industry by facilitating research and learning for egg producers, processors and consumers through national and international collaboration. To find more information on the center, visit www.eggindustrycenter.org.