Expect higher poultry, egg prices as bird flu wipes out Minnesota flocks

The bird flu outbreak is causing concern for farmers.

As the bird flu wipes out flocks across the United States and here in Minnesota, pricing experts say customers will likely pay more for poultry and eggs. Business owners are fearing the added costs for them, as well.

At Bombay Pizza Kitchen, the cooks infuse Indian cuisines and western cooking to make a unique concept: an Indian pizzeria. Customers who look at their menu will notice chicken in many of their dishes.

"It's a key protein choice that we offer on many of our pizzas. We offer wings, as well," said owner Divija Alluri.

But since she and her partner opened up the new spot in Eden Prairie a year and a half ago, they have watched chicken prices double.

"We've slightly increased our menu pricing to accommodate that, but a lot of it we've been eating (the costs) because we're still a new business and we're trying to get people in the door," she explained.

And now: Enter the bird flu.

"Remember that this bird flu is coming after multiple years of a pandemic and now nearly a year of inflation coming in," said Mark Bergen, the James D. Watkins chair in marketing of the Carlson of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Prices have already risen recently following the war in Ukraine, and now the avian flu outbreak is cutting the supply of poultry and eggs, leading to exhausted consumers.

"It's really intense. Food prices are on the rise. They look to be on the rise for a while in the foreseeable future," Bergen said.

Bergen said customers will have to shop around more, make trade-offs and buy in bulk when they find items at good prices. He recommends that they be kind to business owners.

"The problem that we're running into is high-quality chicken is becoming much more difficult for us to get," Alluri said.

She used wings as an example: "When we get them from our processor, we're getting much smaller sizes of wings than what we used to and sometimes at the same price."

So if customers see smaller wings or higher menu prices than they’re used to, business owners say there's a reason, and they’d prefer not to have to raise prices for their customers.

"They're really just trying to survive these kinds of big episodes and these new inflationary pressures," Bergen said.