PORTLAND -- Don’t tell the Easter Bunny, but grocery stores in the Portland area are having a tough time keeping eggs on their store shelves. Specifically, “cage-free” and “organic” eggs.
it’s a shortage that’s being felt across the United States.
If you’ve hit the dairy aisle of your grocery store, you may have seen a sign posted in the egg section, warning shoppers of the shortage. We found signs at a local Safeway store. And shoppers have noticed, too.
“I actually live right behind the Safeway. I come here every day and it’s always hard to find the cage-fee organic ones. They're pretty much always out, I don’t really know why,” said local shopper Brendan.
KGW headed to Willamette Egg Farm in Canby to find out why. Producers there said the egg shortage was a problem being felt across the nation.
“Conventional white eggs, I think they're just in tight supply," explained Greg Satrum who runs Willamette Egg Farm. "What's more affected is the organics and cage-free right now.”
Several factors have contributed to the shortage. Increased exports to Mexico and new regulations in California are two of them. “We have new regulations coming up that are affecting California egg producers that are actually requiring them to put less hens in their houses,” said Satrum. And less hens, means fewer eggs.
Shoppers may also see a price increase in addition to the shortage.
In the meantime, egg producers like Satrum have been scrambling to meet the demand, hoping to get through the month of April.
“We only produce so many eggs, we only have so many hens so we can’t really shut production off or turn it on," he said. "The hens just do what they do.”
And if that’s not enough to fill store shelves, shoppers may have to look elsewhere, as one shopper named Nathaniel said with a grin: “I think the Easter Bunny will bring some eggs.”