Inflation and bird flu hit US bakeries ahead of Easter 2022

Easter 2022 is just days away and the price of eggs is skyrocketing due to inflation, supply chain issues and now highly contagious avian or bird flu.

Eggs are among the main crucial ingredients for bakery items. (FoxNews)

The bird flu epidemic has killed tens of millions of birds over the past few months and this is partly the reason for this sharp increase in the price of eggs.

AVIAN INFLUENZA OUTBREAK MAY IMPACT EGG PRICES BEFORE EASTER

Soaring prices are hitting bakeries especially hard, and the days leading up to Easter are among the busiest of the year for sales of baked goods, cookies and other sweets.

“This isn’t our first rodeo with bird flu. Unfortunately, this follows a pandemic and we’ve had shortages before,” said Patti Stobaugh, chair of the board of Retail Bakers of America.

It is the worst bird flu outbreak since 2015, when more than 50 million birds died or had to be killed to prevent further spread. National Egg Farmers Association President Ken Klippen says it’s a sick feeling for farmers to see an outbreak recurring.

“We just shook our heads and said ‘okay, that’s it. Let’s prepare for it now, because it’s happening,” Klippen said.

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American bakers also remember well the 2015 bird flu outbreak and soaring egg prices, and it even forced an Italian bakery in St. Louis to change its menu.

Baker Angelina Vitale says the price she pays for a crate of eggs has risen dramatically. (FoxNews)

“A pignolata is this little ball of dough, and it takes 36 eggs to make a dough. Well, my dad found out how much eggs cost from 69 cents a dozen to a dollar 35 cents a dozen…He told everyone world’ this is the last year we made pignolata.” said Angelina Vitale, owner of Vitale’s Bakery on The Hill in St. Louis.

Vitale’s Bakery in St. Louis, MO sells an endless variety of authentic Italian cookies. (FoxNews)

Vitale’s Bakery has been in St. Louis for four generations. Vitale says there were tough times, but not like this.

“Every week there’s an increase of one thing or another,” Vitale said.

From late March to April 1, the wholesale price of a carton of eggs in the Midwest jumped 60%, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

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“People are going to pay more for eggs, there’s just no way around it. You reduce supplies, there’s an increase in production costs, the result is that consumers will pay some of that expense. “, said Klippen.

Vitale says the bakery clerk warned her that high egg prices are likely to continue. Now customers have to help cover the costs.

“Which is very difficult because they won’t get as much as before. If a person came in and ordered a lot of pastries, they would now get half the pastries because the price is so high. It’s going to be very difficult for our business to stay in business, very difficult.” says Vitale.

Farmers hope the warmer weather will slow bird flu. But for now, when you go shopping for sweets for an Easter party, expect fewer options at some bakeries and a higher bill.

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