In Alaska, eggs are scarce.
Oakdell, Washington’s largest egg supplier to retailers in the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, is in the midst of killing more than a million chickens because of the bird flu epidemic, said Kyle Hill, president of the Alaska Commercial Company, which has 35 AC. stores across rural Alaska.
The eruption caused problems in rural and remote areas of Alaska, as well as the Northwest, Hill said. He said the suppliers are trying to find other suppliers who can produce more eggs. But this is difficult, because things like eggs are often taken from regions.
“It’s not common for Alaska to produce eggs from California or the Midwest,” Hill said.
Bird flu has affected eggs worldwide since March 2022, according to Tiffany Sanders, Fred Meyer business manager. The company is limiting the purchase of eggs to two cartons per customer.
Three Bears Alaska grocery stores, located across the street, are buying larger eggs and breaking them into larger quantities, said Jim Kolb, the company’s director of marketing.
“We have big holes where the eggs can go,” Kolb said. “And we’re trying to fill it in as much as we can, but that’s the way it is.”
In Anchorage on a Friday afternoon, at three Midtown grocery stores, the egg is different. At Carrs on Seward Highway at Benson Boulevard, things were good, with brown and white eggs. At Fred Meyer across the street, the shelves were almost empty, with only a few cartons left. Similarly, at the Midtown Walmart, egg cartons were scarce. A sign there asked customers to limit their purchases to just one.
In Alaska, food packages arrive via ship at the port of Anchorage. Recently, two ships instead of four have been sailing north each week, but that’s not what’s causing the egg, said Jim Jager, director of business operations and external affairs at the Port of Alaska.
Recent weather delays and fewer ships — common this time of year — may have caused the eggs and other products to arrive late, but “the eggs are not making it to the docks in Tacoma,” Jager said.
[Anchorage’s average home price rose to a record $456K, but higher interest rates are starting to cool the market]
Frieda Koper, owner of Flying Dutchman Pastry Shop in Anchorage, has been stocking up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means she hasn’t been affected by the egg shortage so far.
“Everything is difficult,” Koper said.
Koper noted that Costco began restricting loose eggs to two-packs for customers a few weeks ago, so he has been picking up space at other stores and not letting their food run low.
He said: “You can’t stop doing anything.”
They also keep liquid eggs around, which have not been found. So far, they can hatch their eggs very well. But recently, she decided to skip making quiches, just to stretch things out a bit. Koper said he might feel free to make quiches on Saturday after learning that Costco has eggs.
Hill, an AC resident, said he was happy to find eggs to ship from Tacoma Saturday evening, on Matson’s ship. It should arrive on Tuesday and the grocery store will get them out.
But he said he expects the decline to end in two to four months.
“(This) is a tough time of year for this to happen, because Easter is right around the corner, so every retailer is doing what they can,” Hill said. “But this won’t last a week or two.”
• • •