Consumer Alert: Avian Flu Drives Up Grocery & Dining Costs

With egg prices flying high due to an Avian Flu outbreak that’s killed 48 million chickens and turkeys recently, restaurants and bakeries are scrambling to find ways to reduce their costs. Many eateries are limiting egg-based dishes or charging customers up to a dollar more to offset wholesale price increases. Meanwhile, consumers can expect to pay double the price for a dozen eggs at the grocery store and even more by the end of December.

What’s an egg-loving family to do in the face of this crisis? Here are seven ways to offset the cost of the incredibly pricey egg.


Skip the drive-through for breakfast.
Grabbing breakfast on-the-go is a habit for busy consumers, but a pricey one given the rising cost of eggs. Swap this habit with packing your breakfast to-go, and opt for high-protein yogurt with berries and a granola bar, or whip up these highly-rated Vegan Wheat Bran Muffins for the week. Save money on these swaps by printing grocery coupons from sites like Coupon Sherpa, where you can currently save $0.50 to $1 on Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt.

Think outside the grocery store.
While egg prices are on the rise everywhere they’re sold, you might find better prices when you look beyond the grocery store. For example, Walgreens often has deals on eggs, and while the recent crisis may make $0.99 per dozen deals scarce, you should still compare their prices with those of your supermarket. Also consider farm-fresh eggs from farmer’s markets or a local farm. These eggs are highly coveted so plan to get their at the crack of dawn for the best selection!

Buy less-pricey protein.
While you may miss your morning scramble, there are other less-costly ways to reach your daily protein intake goals. Pork, for example, has seen a drop in prices this year now that the industry has recovered from it’s own flu outbreak that killed millions of piglets last year. A bacon-lettuce-tomato bagel sandwich is just as filling as your typical breakfast burrito, and much cheaper with average bacon prices dropping to less than $5 per pound.

Shop in bulk and freeze.
If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership, consider buying eggs in bulk since they can be frozen for future use. You can freeze raw yolks, whites or whole eggs in ice cube trays or freezer containers, with detailed instructions available at You can even scramble eggs and freeze them patty-style for use on egg sandwiches. Those breakfast burritos you love so much can also be prepared in advance and frozen for on-the-go goodness.

Go eggless.
Avoiding eggs until the end of this flu outbreak likely isn’t realistic, especially with the homebaked-heavy holiday season right around the corner. However, you can start taking measures now to reduce the amount of eggs you use which will in turn curb your spending. Recipes for cakes, muffins and cupcakes often use applesauce, bananas and even peanut butter as substitutes for eggs in baking.

Buy the white ones.
White foods are increasingly associated with negative health issues, which is part of the reason brown eggs are so popular. There’s a perception that brown eggs are more natural, healthier and less processed, but this is simply not true. In fact, there is no taste or nutritional difference between brown and white eggs, according to Consumer Reports, yet brown eggs are as much as 40-percent more per dozen compared to white. The difference lies in the breed of the hen, and hens that lay brown eggs are often larger and require more feed.

Adopt tech savings.
While you may not be able to avoid rising prices on eggs — or any other grocery item, for that matter – -you can get more aggressive in your savings strategies to offset the growing costs. If you haven’t adopted savings apps, there are several that can make both dining out and food shopping cheaper. Ibotta offers cash-rewards to customers who complete certain shopping activities; Checkout 51 provides rebates on grocery goods which are submitted by snapping a picture of a receipt; Favado compares food prices across multiple store circulars so you know who has the best deal; and Coupon Sherpa offers restaurant savings at your fingertips.

Andrea Woroch

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who regularly contributes to leading national and regional news stories. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Dr. OZ, Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, CNN, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, and been quoted in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Better Homes & Garden and many others. Andrea also enjoys writing articles for various personal finance and lifestyle websites and blogs. Andrea is passionate about sharing ideas and tips to help you live on less without having to sacrifice. She says making a few small tweaks to daily and monthly spending is all you need to do to achieve your dreams within your means. Follow Andrea on Facebook and Twitter for daily savings tips and check back for new videos, magazine stories and blog posts all about saving money!

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