Egg prices soar 138%: Is price collusion to blame?

Edy Zoo
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DES MOINES, IA. - Over the past year, people across the United States have seen a dramatic rise in egg prices. For example, in Iowa, a dozen eggs now cost more than two-and-a-half times what they did a year ago. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has attributed this price hike to an avian flu outbreak and supply chain problems. 

However, a rural advocacy group called Farm Action has found that these factors are not to blame for the sharp increase in egg prices.

Using USDA data, Farm Action determined that egg prices have increased by 138%, yet companies with no reported avian flu still see record profits as high as 40%. This discrepancy has led Farm Action to call upon the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairperson Lina Khan to investigate potential price collusion between significant egg producers. 

Such collusion would involve the government allowing producers to artificially inflate prices beyond what is necessary to cover production costs and generate excessive profits at the expense of consumers.

The impacts of such price gouging are felt on both an individual and macroeconomic level. Individually, families who rely on eggs for their protein needs may struggle against rising costs as their grocery bills increase exponentially. This burden often falls particularly hard on low-income households struggling with economic strain, making it even more difficult to afford necessities like food and shelter. 

On a macroeconomic level, we can see how this price manipulation affects consumer spending habits; when prices are high, and budgets are tight, people tend to reduce their overall consumption, leading to decreased domestic demand and slower economic growth rates.

At present, there is no solid evidence of price collusion between major egg producers or any other corporations involved in food production or distribution. Nonetheless, it is essential for consumers—and our representatives in Washington—to remain vigilant about potential attempts by businesses or industries to manipulate pricing for their gain at the expense of average citizens. 

It is time that we hold those responsible accountable and ensure that everyone from producers down to consumers has access to fair market pricing so that all Americans can access affordable nutrition sources like eggs.

As consumers, we can influence prices by the choices we make about what to buy. If we stop buying from companies whose practices create higher costs for everyone else, we may get them to listen to us and change their ways.

Knowing what is going on with food production, distribution, and pricing can ensure that we pay fair prices. This also helps businesses whose values align with ours. This is a good situation where everyone benefits instead of just wealthy people.

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Edy Zoo is an author who writes about social subjects. He contributes to the ever-growing library of social critics. He approaches local social subjects and local news covering Auburn-Opelika and surrounding cities from an objective point of view. He also holds liberal views.

Auburn, AL

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