Americans Are Buying 43 Million More Eggs Each Week in Quarantine

Sale are driven primarily by breakfast and baking

open carton of eggs
Kroger alone is selling roughly 40 million more eggs per week. Haley Hamilton/Unsplash
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

Key insights:

U.S. consumers are buying 3.6 million more cartons of eggs per week than they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from grocery retailer Kroger.

This is because more consumers are eating breakfast at home and are more likely to make eggs on weekdays now, but also because they are turning to at-home baking projects.

Kroger, of course, offers eggs by the dozen and half-dozen, as well as cartons with 18, 30 and even 60 eggs. A dozen eggs is by far the most popular configuration, however, so those 3.6 million cartons translate to something like 43 million eggs per week. Give or take.

The American Egg Board, an organization that seeks to promote egg consumption and is funded by U.S. egg production companies, has a website that explains how these cartons are filled. It tells us there are about 280 million laying hens in the U.S. Each hen lays about 250 to 300 eggs a year for total annual production of 75 billion eggs. More than half—60%—are used by consumers, while 9% go to the food service industry and the remainder become products used in the food service and food manufacturing industries.

Thankfully, though, laying hens aren’t on the hook to produce 173 million more eggs per month to meet elevated demand. Instead, a Kroger spokesperson said the retailer expanded its network of suppliers, which now also includes eggs that would have otherwise gone to restaurants or food service distributors.

The American Egg Board did not respond to Adweek’s interview request.

This egg cheerleading body, however, is responsible for a slogan you’ve probably heard of—the Incredible Edible Egg.

The organization was established in 1976 to buoy egg sales after three decades of declining consumption among American consumers. The Incredible Edible Egg campaign launched in 1977 to push health benefits and it has more or less stuck around since then—although the jingle was updated in 2012. And, three years later, the American Egg Board convinced actor Kevin Bacon to make a cameo because, well, you know.

And with 43 million more eggs being sold by Kroger alone, the American Egg Board and the egg producers it represents are presumably happy that Americans’ love affair with eggs continues.

K.K. Davey, president of strategic analytics at market research company IRI Worldwide, noted eggs are a good source of protein, so it’s logical that parents at home with kids would want to feed their children eggs in the morning so the kids are full and “won’t bug you in the next hour or two.”

Davey also pointed out eggs are known to have immune-boosting properties, which is another reason they are attractive during a global pandemic.

There’s even a hashtag, #EggsForImmunity, which Kellan Terry, senior manager of communications at social media analytics firm Brandwatch, said has been used about 41,000 times online since April 1.

That includes the #EggsForImmunityChallenge, which Terry said is linked to better preparing human immune systems to overcome Covid-19. Most mentions with the hashtag—95%—are positive. Within those mentions, the heart-eyes emoji is the most popular emoji with over 1,070 mentions. The egg emoji has over 1,020 mentions and the egg in a frying pan emoji has over 300 additional mentions, Terry said.

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@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.