Egg prices have been making news all over Texas in the past few weeks, as rising costs have put a squeeze on local businesses. Last week Whataburger temporarily restricted breakfast hours to conserve precious egg resources. This week HEB jumped in with a restriction on the number of eggs any single customer could buy at their stores.
Egg prices have more than doubled as more than 35 million birds have been diagnosed with bird flu, and the prices are affecting more than just your breakfast sandwiches. Area bakers are feeling the pressure, too. Especially French bakeries that heavily use whole eggs and egg whites in sweets like macarons.
Andrea Meyers' eyes crossed when she was asked about her recent egg costs at Bisous Bisous, her bakery in the West Village. Meyers said a notice posted at her restaurant depot around three weeks ago warned that price increases were coming because suppliers were having trouble with sourcing. The following week, prices were up 20 percent. The week after that they had doubled.
Meyers uses the same large grade eggs you buy at the grocery to make an omelet, but in much larger quantities. As she spoke, one of her employees used gloved hands to separate yolks from a bowl containing 100 eggs. Each week, the bakery goes through three to four cases each containing 15 dozen. But as much as her costs are rising, Meyers says she's not raising prices.
Julie Brown, a manager at Boulangerie on Greenville Avenue, echoes Meyers' restraint. Brown's vendors have stopped taking new customers, yet prices for baked goods containing eggs continue to hold steady, largely because egg prices are expected to come back down. Eventually.
"They're fast growers," she said, referring to the egg-layers. "I'm more worried about almond prices with the drought in California." Almond prices have been creeping upwards, too, as fights over water rights threaten the livelihoods of almond farmers. Meyers goes through 75 pounds a week. Bottom line: macaron prices (they run more than $2 for a cookie the size of a silver dollar coin) shouldn't be decreasing anytime soon. But you should eat a lot of them this weekend just in case.