Egg prices in NJ spike as avian flu hits the Midwest
Problems with avian influenza continue in the Midwest, where millions of egg-laying chickens have perished. That's pushed up the price of eggs in other areas of the country.
"As the wholesalers increase their price, obviously that does cut into the price of restaurants, said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association. "Whether they decide to increase their prices on the menu to compensate for that, that's going to be a decision, but right now there's been no word about any kind of effect that it's had."
Spiro Hadjiyeiou, the owner of the Colonial Diner in East Brunswick, said last year egg prices were about a dollar a dozen but the price has jumped to $2.66 a dozen.
"So far we've held off on increasing the price of egg dishes, but we're a big breakfast place and it's a question of - do I think it's going to come down? We don't want to hurt our customers and I just feel right now I can absorb this hit for a little bit longer, but then eventually if it doesn't come down or it continues to go up then we have to make a decision," he said.
Hadjiyeiou said some diner owners he's spoken with have put an egg surcharge on the menu, of 50 cents to a dollar, but he'll wait to see what happens until the end of the summer.
He also said besides egg prices rising, the cost of produce has also increased.
"You have the drought in California, you have issues in Texas now, and I heard that turkey prices may also rise, so it just looks like there's no relief in sight. I think if that's the latest that happens we'll have no choice but to change the menus," he said.
Halvorsen said a growing number of New Jersey restaurants are looking at buying their eggs right here in the Garden State.
"A lot of them do try to buy local and there's a lot of great fresh egg farms, so there's really no need to have to go the Midwest," she said.
Hadjiyeiou said he's been using one vendor from the Midwest for eggs for a while, but will now check out egg prices locally.
"If it wasn't for the eggs it would have been one of my best breakfasts ever for Father's Day but the price of eggs kind of took a hit on us," he said.