Lawsuit Claims That the Nation’s Largest Egg Producers Are Behind the High Cost of Eggs

With people scrambling to keep up with the rising cost of eggs, there’s a quiet battle being waged behind the scenes. General Mills, Kraft Heinz, Kellogg, and Nestle are alleging that Cal-Maine Foods Inc. and Rose Acre Farms Inc. — the two largest egg producers in the U.S. — have been intentionally driving up the cost of eggs. The firm that represents the food companies is asking for damages to be paid and in a trial scheduled to begin today, the jury will decide the amount. Previously, the theory behind the rising cost of eggs was the avian flu and bird feed, but the actual culprit behind the “egg-flation” appears to be the producers themselves. Egg producers and industry groups used a price-fixing scheme to illegally rig the market. They exported millions of eggs overseas, which nearly doubled the price domestically. Apparently, the scheme was intended to drive costs up, especially around Thanksgiving and Easter. Between January and July 2022, Cal-Maine Foods Inc. tripled its gross profit margin after raising the price of its eggs. This is the latest lawsuit against egg producers in what’s been more than a decade of back-and-forth. The lawsuit covers damages done between 1999 and 2008. Hopefully, following the trial, it will be the cost of eggs that takes a great fall.