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Shortage of eggs across San Diego County

Ongoing shortage leads to local stores running out of eggs or charging significantly more than a year ago.

SAN DIEGO — After several weeks, a nationwide egg shortage has resulted in empty grocery store shelves at San Diego area supermarkets.

CBS 8 visited several stores and found either empty shelves or, if there were eggs, they were much more expensive than they used to be.

One place with eggs is Hilliker's Ranch in Lakeside, where business is booming.

"Slowly but surely, we've been seeing more customers come in because of the shortage," said owner Frank Hilliker.

According to Hilliker, the egg shortage is the result of several factors.

For starters, a strain of bird flu, first discovered in early 2022, has resulted in the deaths of more than 50 million chickens nationwide.

Hilliker says the virus, combined with the holidays and inflation, has led to the current egg shortage.

“In the holidays, not only are people buying eggs for their regular breakfast, but they're also baking a lot. On top of that, eggs are the most inexpensive source of protein you can buy. We see what's happening to all the proteins in the store going through the roof, but eggs are still your best bang for your buck," said Hilliker.

As for the eggs you can find, they're pricier than before-by a lot.

According to the Consumer Price Index, eggs cost 49 percent more than they did a year ago due to supply and demand and the higher cost of supplies, labor, and transportation.

"So, the egg cartons and boxes are almost double, fuel is 50 percent up, labor is 15-20 percent up," said Hilliker.

Meanwhile, half of the other stores that CBS 8 checked out had no eggs in stock.

The ones that did were charging around seven dollars or more a dozen.

Some customers say they don't plan to buy any until prices drop.

"Once the price drops, I'll go back to making breakfast with eggs but right now, I gotta watch the budget like everyone else," said Alan Watson.

So, when could that happen?

Hilliker expects things to normalize within the next few weeks.

"I'm watching the wholesale egg market, and the price is starting to go down, which tells me more eggs are available."

Until then, you can hold off.

If you want to make the eggs you have last longer, keep them in the fridge or crack and freeze them.

And if you're not having any luck finding them, shop around or visit Hilliker, who says with 30,000 chickens, he doesn't anticipate running out anytime soon.

"Everything is just a little bit scrambled right now."

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