Price of eggs rising in California due to surge in demand amid coronavirus pandemic

A woman holds up a carton of eggs at a grocery store in this file photo. (Getty Images)

A woman holds up a carton of eggs at a grocery store in this file photo. (Getty Images)

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As stay-at-home orders swept across the country, shoppers rushed to grocery stores and stocked up on staples, among them eggs. This surge in demand has boosted egg prices, both nationally and especially in California, and probably will for some time.

On March 2, the Urner Barry wholesale benchmark for a dozen conventional California shell eggs was $1.55. By March 27, the benchmark had risen to $3.66, where it remained for several days before decreasing slightly to $3.26, as of Friday.

That means higher costs for retailers and shoppers. In the last three weeks, grocers’ egg costs increased 57%, said Dave Heylen, spokesman for the California Grocers Assn., which represents more than 80% of the state’s retail grocery stores. A bit of relief came last week, when those costs dropped about 8%.

Northgate González Market is paying more to get eggs on its shelves, up anywhere from 20% to 35%, said Mike Hendry, executive vice president of marketing and merchandising.

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