In Europe's Inflation Crisis, the Humble Egg Takes the Cake

Egg prices in a handful of counties were up by some 80%.

Eggs at a supermarket, Frankfurt, Germany, Aug. 4, 2017.
Eggs at a supermarket, Frankfurt, Germany, Aug. 4, 2017.
AP Photo/Michael Probst, File

BRUSSELS (AP) β€” The humble egg has become a star performer for all the wrong reasons as inflation has hit households across the European Union extremely hard over the year.

The EU's statistical agency Eurostat announced Friday that the average price of an egg β€” that important staple for poor families and gourmet cooks alike β€” had risen by 30% over the year to January 2023, becoming a symbol of how the cost of living has hit everyone in the 27-nation bloc.

Even if the latest inflation figures show that annual inflation in the 20-nation eurozone has started to decline to 8.5% in February, the sector of food, alcohol and tobacco continued to rise and stood at 15%.

And then, eggs outperform just about all. Two years ago, egg inflation still stood at a lean 1%, rising to 7% the year after before reaching 30% in February.

Egg prices were whipped up the most in the Czech Republic, rising 85% over the year, followed closely by two other central European nations β€” Hungary (80%) and Slovakia (79%). Germany and Luxembourg stood at the other end, with both experiencing a relatively lower increase of 18%.

In the United States, egg prices have surged over the past year because of the ongoing bird flu outbreak and the highest inflation in decades. The national average retail price of a dozen eggs hit $4.25 in December, up from $1.79 a year earlier, according to the latest government data.

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