Eggs too expensive? Here are some affordable alternatives you may already have
Eggs are 60% more expensive than last year, leaving consumers scrambling for substitutes. But a few alternatives can be found right at home.
A dozen of large, grade A eggs were priced at $1.92 in January 2022 and surged to $4.25 as holiday demand peaked in December, according to Consumer Price Index data. Experts say a supply shortage driven by bird flu, coupled with inflation and increased consumer demand are behind the recent price hike.
The kitchen staple has gotten so expensive that some people have resorted to smuggling them in from Mexico, border protection officials said.
“Inflation is affecting everything including eggs — even before this avian flu,” Russell Spears, assistant professor of economics at Kennesaw State University, told McClatchy News in a phone interview. “This is a temporary supply disruption ... it’s just a shock to the supply market.”
Prices are expected to return to normal once egg inventories rebound, hopefully by the summer, Spears said. Until then, consumers in search of affordable alternatives won’t have to look much further than their refrigerators.
Eggs are a breakfast essential but also serve as binding agents, acting as the glue that helps ingredients “stick together” in prepared foods from casseroles to chocolate cake.
In a pinch, eggs can be substituted with these items:
A surprising pantry staple may also do the trick.
“A quarter cup of mashed potatoes is equal to one egg when you’re binding,” Spears said.
Consumers in search of the real thing but struggling to keep up with high prices have turned to local farmers for relief, KTUL reported. Oklahoma farmer Elaine Brown said she sells her eggs for about $5 a dozen.
“I’ve sold everything I have,” Brown told the news station. “But I’ve also had probably about 20 to 30 other people wanting eggs tomorrow if I have them.”
Farms producing organic and cage-free eggs haven’t been hit as hard by the bird flu outbreak, leading to cheaper prices on those varieties than traditional eggs, Business Insider reported.
Vegan and plant-based substitutes also available via brands including JUST Egg and Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, according to LeafScore.com. However, some options may be more budget-friendly than others.
“I have seen more plant-based options, but I have not seen a significant price difference,” Spears said. “You’re going to pay up for something plant-based.”
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