Shares Plummet For Largest US Egg Producer Despite Record Sales

In 2022's food world, even good news is sometimes bad news, especially when it comes to eggs. The entire industry has been reeling all year, with stubbornly persistent inflation driving up prices, but no sector has been hit harder than eggs. Even as chicken prices have started dropping, egg costs have hit record highs, with CNBC reporting that prices surged 49% in 2022. Those price increases have been driven by the worst avian flu outbreak in American history, with almost 58 million egg-laying birds succumbing to the disease this year. It has been bad enough that experts predict prices will stay high into the new year, even as other costs like fuel begin declining.

Even amid these problems, egg sales have remained high, a testament to their popularity and essential nature in cooking. It also helps that eggs have also remained a decent budget protein option, as meat prices have also increased and kept eggs as a favorable alternative. However, those record-high sales have not been enough to stave off disappointment at the country's largest egg producer, Cal-Maine, as recent news has led to a pretty significant drop in the company's stock price.

Cal-Maine sees 15% drop in share price after sales fall short of expectations

It turns out that even a huge bump in sales isn't enough to calm fears over rising prices. According to Food Business News, Cal-Maine hit both record-high sales volume and income last quarter, but stock prices still fell significantly as the increases fell short of expectations. The fears around the egg producer have to do with increasing costs canceling out the optimism of higher profits. Feed, labor, and packaging expenses have all seen significant increases this year, and it appears higher prices have not been enough to make people confident about the egg market in the future. Food producers really are being squeezed from all sides as they try to combat inflation.

There is one bright spot in the bad egg news, however. Insider reports that Cal-Maine's sales of "specialty," in this case organic, eggs have increased 24%. Why? In a rare occurrence, you may have noticed the price of organic eggs is actually cheaper right now than conventional. This is because the bird flu outbreak has been much less severe at organic farms, a pro-environment upside that's nice to hear amid so much bad news. So as egg prices remain high into the near future, you can do your part for both the environment and your wallet by purchasing high-quality organic eggs.