Ice cream and custard sales are taking a hit due to egg shortages and higher prices.
The egg shortage is the result of the avian flu epidemic that has devastated flocks of egg-laying chickens across the country. Since December 2014, more than 48 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, have been impacted. Thus, many operators are reconsidering their homemade ice cream or custard strategies, pulling these egg-dependent treats off the menu or raising prices until the supply returns to normal.
Because of the egg crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its forecast for egg production this year to 6.9 billion dozen, a 5.3 percent drop from 2014. By late May, the price for a dozen Midwest large eggs had already soared to $2.62, a 120 percent increase from their mid-April, pre-bird flu prices, industry analyst group Urner Barry said.
Rita’s Italian Ice is in the process of phasing out frozen custard due to the shortage.
“We are not able to get our egg supplies anymore to supply our 600 stores,” said spokeswoman Ariel Vegotsky.
Rita’s customers will now find soft-serve ice cream in exchange for custard.
Officials say it could take up to two years for eggs to return to normal production. “The best-case scenario, we’re talking about a year before the availability is more robust,” said John Howeth, the American Egg Board’s senior vice president in charge of food service and egg product marketing.
If the egg shortage is affecting your revenue, it may be time to give Frostline® Soft Serve a shot. Since our dry mixes don’t require eggs, you no longer have to worry about the uncertain price of produce. Plus, Frostline Soft Serve is low fat and free of lactose, gluten, and trans fat. Fast and easy prep means you get fresh product when you want it, and with taste that’s consistently rich and creamy, your customers will never guess our soft serve is actually better for them.
“So far, the reaction from guests has been positive,” said Vegotsky. “Everyone is happy with the product we are serving.”