Eggs, turkey prices increasing due to bird flu

Price of a dozen eggs has gone up 17 percent, now costing $1.39, since mid-April

More than 30 million birds in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin have been lost to the bird flu, and it’s causing an increase in prices.

Iowa, the nation’s leading producer of eggs, has lost nearly 23 million chickens.

Minnesota, the nation’s leading producer of turkey, has lost more than four million turkeys.

Market experts say grocery stores are stocking up on these products as the number of birds infected with bird flu continues to rise, but one big name local provider says it isn’t.

Kwik Trip prides itself on offering eggs for 99 cents a dozen.

“We go through literally thousands of dozens of eggs a day,” said John McHugh, corporate communications at Kwik Trip.

McHugh said eggs are one of its most popular items, and it’s committed to keeping the price at 99 cents.

McHugh said it would be a pretty big issue if the bird flu were to impact its egg supply, which is why it isn’t taking any risks.

“When we first heard the news, the first thing our food safety team had to do was go out and research possibilities to get a secondary or even a tertiary vendor,” McHuch said. “We make sure that we can get another source, another supplier, to get eggs in that we know with 100 percent certainty is safe for the consumer.”

Since mid-April, the price of a dozen eggs has gone up 17 percent, now costing $1.39. Fresh turkey used for deli meat has risen 10 percent since mid-April to $3.37, and eggs used to make other products, like mayonaise and cake mix, has gone up 63 percent in that same time frame.

“We’re going to see, obviously, a disruption in supplies of eggs that might have some short-term impacts on prices,” said Casey Langan, of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

Langan said consumers shouldn’t see a shortage of turkey, because the U.S. has a lot in cold-storage, meaning excess is stored for later use.

He also said more turkey is staying in the U.S. because the country isn’t exporting any.

“Right now, we’ve lost that export market. This product is not being shipped to our trading partners overseas, so that product is staying home, and so that means that we probably will have adequate supplies of these products in the stores,” Langan said.

Festival Foods’ public relations Kelly Poppele said Festival isn’t stocking up on eggs either, because it is a perishable food and doesn’t have a long shelf life. Poppele also said they aren’t seeing much of a shortage at this time either.

Langan expects the bird flu to die off soon. He said the disease doesn’t do well in the heat, so if there are a string of 70 degree days, the disease should go away.