There Is an Egg Shortage Right Now—Here's What You Need to Know
Including the best egg substitutes.
We’ve all noticed our grocery store bills are a bit higher these days. While some of this is due to inflation and the increased cost of food in general, there may be another reason, especially if your family eats a lot of eggs. Whether you like them scrambled, fried, or as an omelet, this healthy source of protein is a breakfast staple in most homes. But with a scarce supply on shelves and rising costs overall, this situation is far from eggcellent. Here’s what you need to know about the 2023 egg shortage as well as some alternatives if eggs are entirely unavailable to you.
Why Is There an Egg Shortage?
One of the major reasons for the shortage is an outbreak of the bird flu (avian influenza), which is a very contagious and deadly virus. While this outbreak occurred over a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it has affected more than 57 million birds in both commercial and backyard flocks. This has resulted in the depopulation of over 44 million egg-laying hens, meaning fewer eggs are currently being produced.
But that’s not the only reason for the shortage. The Los Angeles Times reports that some states have banned sales of eggs from caged birds, including California. So, if you’ve noticed all the cartons at your local supermarket are labeled “cage-free,” that could be the reason. While a cage-free life is certainly better for animals, unfortunately, it also impacts supply.
Why Are Eggs So Expensive?
However, bird flu and depopulation aren’t entirely to blame for increasing egg prices. Due to inflation, bird feed, along with packaging and fuel (everyone is feeling it at the pump), are also driving up the overall price of eggs.
Alternatives to Eggs
So if eggs are entirely unavailable at the closest grocery store, what are you supposed to do for breakfast tomorrow? One of the best options is to check out a local farmer’s market. Not only is it easier to get eggs locally, but farm-fresh eggs also tend to taste better. However, they may be slightly different from what you’re used to. The entire dozen may not have a uniform shell color and the yokes tend to have an orange hue.
Another option is liquid egg whites or products like Egg Beaters. While these won’t be helpful if you like eggs sunny side up, they’re great for omelets or scrambles in a pinch. You can also use them for baking.
Can’t find any eggs at all and need to bake a cake? Some great egg alternatives include applesauce, mashed bananas, vegetable oil, or even silken tofu, which can stand in for eggs in some recipes. Alternatively, tofu can be scrambled up like eggs and tastes delicious when mixed with cheese and fresh veggies.
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