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How rising egg prices are impacting local bakeries in Arkansas

Egg prices are beginning to skyrocket due to a mixture of bird flu and inflation. That increasing cost is having a big impact on local bakeries in Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A mixture of bird flu and inflation is causing egg prices to sky-rocket, just in time for this Easter and Passover weekend. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, egg prices increased by 2% just in the month of February. 

Local bakeries in Arkansas said that increase is already hitting them hard. 

For perspective, Hillcrest Little Bakery Manager Zara Schmidt said they went through at least 15 dozens of eggs just before 1:00 p.m. on Friday. 

"It's scary. I mean, to think that we're having to go up that much that quickly is something we're just having to try and take day by day," she said.

Eggs are an early morning staple that Schmidt said is hard to pass up at Hillcrest Little Bakery.

"Pretty much everything's gonna come with an egg, like our meals. We have poached eggs, scrambled eggs, and most of our biscuit sandwiches have eggs on them," she said.

So while it's a breakfast lover's dream menu, Schmidt said the price is getting hard to maintain.

"We've definitely had to raise prices slowly where we can, without being too drastic," she said.

They're not just cracking down on prices either. Schmidt said they're also having to be conscious of labor costs and portion sizes.

"Just having to watch exactly what we're doing and how much we're buying, so we're not wasting what we're cooking as well," she said.

At Dempsey Bakery in Little Rock, owner Paula Dempsey said they're feeling scrambled too.

"It's bad. We can't even keep up with the price increases," she said.

As a gluten-free specialty bakery, Dempsey said they go through 8-10 cases of eggs per week and that they usually buy in bulk.

"Our resource lately has not always had them, so then you don't have a choice and then you're going to the grocery store and buying eggs, which is just horrible," she said.

Just like Hillcrest Little Bakery, Dempsey's having to pass some of the cost onto the customer.

"You just have to try to balance it and manage it and hope you come out at least, maybe even. I mean, a lot of things we lose on maybe a few things we gain," she said.

Dempsey said the eggs are just one more ingredient in the struggles that local businesses are already feeling.

"COVID was easy compared to the supply chain and the inflation cost that we're having to deal with now," she said.

These bakeries are having to cover a lot of costs on their own because they don't want it all to go to the customer.

Other restaurant owners said they just feel like they're now making less money due to all of the complications with supply chain. 

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