The Easter Egg

By Kacie Hatsfelt

Coming off a weekend of chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and egg-shaped Reese’s, you may have taken some time to participate in a long running tradition of dyeing Easter eggs. While history credits this tradition to many different people groups and debated origins, today people all around the world purchase eggs in the spring to use for family activities centered around the custom. Though eggs are iconically recognized to be associated with this time of year, Easter is actually not the egg industry’s leading business holiday in the United States.

The versatile food has been replaced by the colorful, stuff-able plastic egg and chicken farmers are not surprised. In the early 2000’s, plastic eggs were just beginning to replace the chicken-laid version in consumer’s shopping carts the weeks leading up to Easter. These reusable, hinged-plastic eggs have made it possible to stuff candy, toys and other “treasures” inside for children to find. Prior to consumers having another option, farmers would ramp up production in anticipation for the double in demand of their eggs to be used for decorating, games, and baked goods. By the year 2010, sales were only increasing 20-25 percent the two-weeks leading up to Easter and today that percentage is averaging around 10-12 percent.

According to the USDA AMS Egg Markets Report, this further decline in the market could be due to several factors. One reason being that consumers have become more conscientious to not buy beyond their needs at the grocery store as shortages are less frequent than they have been in the last two years. The USDA also stated that the rise in gas prices across the nation would dampen travel plans for many families – smaller gatherings mean less baking and cooking, further driving down egg demands this season.


Chicken farmers can still look forward to higher sales come Thanksgiving and Christmas, as these remain the leading holidays for egg production. In 2021, the shelf inventory of eggs in the U.S. were 6.3% higher the week prior to Christmas than they were the week leading up to Easter this year – that’s equivalent to 2.9 million more eggs. This is largely due to the increase in baking and cooking.

Let us know how you use egg year around in the comments!

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