NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Official reports indicate inflation remains tame, but even though we've started to see gas prices resume an upward climb, another pain will soon be felt in consumer wallets as chicken and egg prices go higher. Companies like Post Holdings (POST), Kellogg (K), Con-Agra (CAG), Kraft Foods (KRFT) and others could be affected.
In the past month, the wholesale price of "breaker" eggs have nearly tripled while prices for wholesale large shell eggs, like the ones you tend to buy at your grocery store, have jumped about 85% to $2.20 a dozen in the Midwest. Chicken prices have climbed more than 8% year-over-year, per data from USDA Market News.
What's catapulting chicken and egg prices higher is the spreading avian bird flu that is hitting the Midwest hard. Altogether, the H5N2 virus -- "highly pathogenic" to birds, so far non-threatening to humans -- has affected more than 165 sites and a jaw-dropping 40 million birds, making it the largest avian flu outbreak in U.S. history.
As bad as it would appear for chicken prices, egg prices have been zooming higher because the egg supply looks to be the hardest hit. Per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, of the almost 40 million turkeys and chickens dead, more than 80% have been egg-laying hens. As egg farmers are forced to slaughter these infected hens, it means tighter egg supplies ahead and therefore higher prices are to be expected. The fallout could resemble the strong move in beef prices we saw last year as ranchers contended with the shrinking beef herd.