A brief egg shortage in Bismarck earlier this week appears to be due to supply chain issues that have been a chronic problem in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic.
Egg shelves at the south Walmart were empty on Wednesday. A store manager wasn't completely sure of the reason but said both eggs and lettuce have been in short supply for about a week, and that a representative from a supplier in Jamestown told the store it could start seeing shortages of cauliflower and other produce.
The lack of eggs at Walmart appeared to have a trickle-down effect at local grocery stores.
"Another major retailer sold out of eggs early (Wednesday), so we received increased traffic from that store," said Adrienne Chance, senior vice president of communications for SpartanNash, which operates Dan's Supermarkets in Bismarck-Mandan. "However, our loads showed up (Wednesday) night, so we are back in stock."
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Dennis Host, vice president of marketing for Coborn's Inc., which owns Cash Wise Foods, cited "Ongoing supply chain issues, driven by ongoing supply shortages that are in part the lingering effects of the bird flu epidemic earlier this summer of which large-scale farmer suppliers are still trying to recover from."
More than 50 million chickens and turkeys have been destroyed nationwide amid the avian influenza outbreak, including about 237,000 in North Dakota.
A lower supply of eggs has led to significant price increases in the store, according to Host.
"Gone, likely, are the days of 99 cents-a-dozen eggs," he said. "The commodity egg market is very challenged by cost and inflationary factors. There will be eggs on shelves, but consumers can expect to pay more."