Egg shortage hits Aspen, with high demand, avian flu as contributing factors
Those in need of eggs for cooking and baking are out of luck due to an egg shortage sweeping the Roaring Fork Valley.
This news shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who has been looking for eggs the past few days. City Market in Basalt and Carbondale have had signs limiting customers to two cartons per customer. Now, many of the stores are completely out of eggs.
City Market in Aspen posted a sign in its egg section this week that read, “Attention customers at this time we are completely out of eggs. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Traveling downvalley for eggs won’t help either. The Whole Foods in Basalt has a similar sign posted over the refrigerator section where the eggs should be.
Holiday baking and meal prepping creates a high demand for shell eggs; however, the avian flu, inclement weather, and a law taking effect Jan. 1 are big contributing factors to the shortage the valley is experiencing.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Egg Markets Overview, “The fact that shell eggs remain at record-high price levels has not deterred consumer appetite as demand has surpassed last season’s levels despite carton-egg prices three times higher.”
The Egg Markets Overview is a weekly publication from the USDA. The report also notes that outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have greatly impacted egg production and has caused concerns over consistent supply access.
According to a situation report from Colorado Department of Agriculture, nine counties in Colorado have been affected by an outbreak of HPAI, and over 6.3 million commercial chickens have been affected across the state.
On Monday, Jan. 1, the Egg-laying Hen Confinement Standards Act goes into effect. Known as HB20-1343, the law requires hens to be confined in an enclosure with at least one square foot of usable floor space per hen. Grocery stores have been phasing out eggs that are non-compliant, contributing to the shortage Aspen is seeing now.
Winter storms sweeping the U.S. are not helping the distribution of eggs and has temporarily slowed the movement of shell eggs at retail outlets, the Egg Markets Overview states.
Local shops are also being affected by the shortage of eggs. Roxy’s Market and Cafe sold out of eggs on Wednesday, and, even though they restocked Thursday morning, eggs are flying off the shelves. Store employees said they do not have limits on how many cartons of eggs people can buy, and that shoppers are coming to get eggs there because everywhere else is out.
Poppycock’s Cafe management in downtown Aspen said there has been a significant price increase in eggs, causing them to adjust prices on their menu for dishes containing eggs. They added they are no longer able to buy eggs at City Market due to the shortage and the two-carton limit when eggs are available.
Although shell eggs are hard, if not impossible to come by, other egg options, such as eggs whites and vegan egg substitutes, are still available at stores.
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