A massive fire that engulfed the Hillandale Farms chicken coop in Pennsylvania could lead to an increase in egg prices across the nation. A preliminary report by The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Unit reported that the chicken coop caught fire due to an electrical short in one of the building’s light fixtures. The blaze quickly spread throughout the structure, destroying it and the over two million chickens housed within.

Impact on Egg Prices

The egg supply in the surrounding area has been significantly depleted, as Hillandale Farms accounted for nearly 18% of the state’s egg production. However, its reach stretches much farther than the Pennsylvania area, supplying 15% of the US egg market. Nationwide egg prices have already started to rise because of the shortage, and could potentially keep increasing as the effects of the Hillandale fire become more pervasive.

What the Future Holds

It’s unclear at this time how long it will take for eggs to return to normal prices, if at all. There are reports, however, of egg prices rising as high as $2.79 per dozen— up 52 cents from the week prior. As the national egg supply diminishes, businesses who rely heavily on eggs such as bakeries, restaurants, and grocery stores, will have to start searching for alternative egg suppliers and paying higher prices to keep their operations running.

Impact on Consumers

The shortage of eggs could have a greater impact than just higher prices— it could also mean that certain egg-related items will become harder to find in stores, such as cake mixes and mayonnaise, which require egg as an ingredient. Additionally, consumers may eventually have to ration their eggs or pay more for less.

How to Survive the Egg Shortage

To make it through the egg shortage, consumers should:

  • Plan ahead. Stock up on eggs when prices are lower, and buy extra if you anticipate needing eggs in the near future.
  • Buy local. Look for local farms who are selling eggs and patronize them when possible.
  • Get creative. Look for ways to substitute eggs in recipes. Chia and flax seed, applesauce, and mashed bananas are great alternatives in baked goods.

The fire at Hillandale Farms was an unfortunate event that could impact egg prices across the nation. As the egg supply becomes more sparse, prices may continue to climb while consumers have to adjust their shopping habits to accommodate.