Those eggs you bought for Easter are being blamed for most of the increase in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey showed the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $51.05, up $1.02, or 2 percent compared to a year ago. Of the items surveyed, nine increased and seven decreased in average price. By far, the biggest increase was in the cost of eggs. According to the survey, average egg prices were 37 percent higher than this time last year, at $1.80 per dozen. Blame the increase on increased domestic and foreign demand while U.S. production stayed level. Exports to South Korea, for example, jumped a whopping 663 percent from 2016 to 2017 following a bird flu outbreak in the country. Egg prices in the U.S. have been on a roller-coaster ride the past several years. In 2017, AFBF’s survey found that egg prices had fallen 41 percent from a year earlier, to $1.32 a dozen. John Newton, AFBF’s director of market intelligence, said orange juice was another “significant driver” for the overall increase in the basket, up 24 cents, or 7.5 percent, following a devastating hurricane that cut production from Florida groves. The biggest decrease came in milk, which fell by 6 percent (20 cents per gallon) due partly to continued record production volumes in the U.S.
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