Is Breakfast Now the Most Expensive Meal of the Day?

traditional scrambled egg breakfast with bacon and toast.
OlgaMiltsova / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Breakfast has long been hailed as the most important meal of the day but is it also now the most expensive? Due to a number of factors, that could be the case. Let’s have a look at what common breakfast items cost and what’s driving up their prices, respectively.

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Eggs

Eggflation is real. In December, the average price of eggs in the U.S. was $4.25 for a dozen of Grade A large eggs – up 18% over November, and the highest price for this item on record since 1980. The rise in price is largely owed to the outbreak of the deadly avian flu which, according to the CDC, has affected nearly 58 million poultry – many of them egg-laying hens – as of Jan. 18.

Bacon 

The average cost of bacon, sliced, per pound in December was $6.96 – down from November, but still high for the category. The surge in price is mostly tied to ongoing labor shortages and supply chain issues triggered by the pandemic. Bacon costs are deflating though and consumers should see prices fall in the near future. 

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Bread

A pound of white bread went for $1.87 in December, up 34 cents from where it was in December 2021. The cause for the spike in price is primarily the Russia-Ukraine war. Russia and Ukraine account for almost 30% of global wheat exports and are known as the breadbasket of Europe. Global drought is also affecting wheat supplies. 

Oranges 

The average price of a pound of navel oranges in December was $1.49 – not as bad as in November ($1.64) – but still high. The steep price tag is owed to a low crop yield in Florida this year thanks to stormy weather and a disease targeting oranges. 

Milk 

A gallon of whole milk cost $4.21 in December when it cost just $3.74 a year prior. The reason milk has become so much more expensive is because the costs of cow maintenance have gone through the roof including feed, labor, transportation and even the costs to milk a cow. These costs have soared largely due to the unnatural, extreme heat affecting dairy farmers and herds. 

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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