HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — If it feels like the price of your morning omelet has gradually increased since last year, you’re not imagining things. The prices of eggs in Central Virginia — as well as the rest of the country — have been on the incline.

This phenomenon parallels inflated rates we’ve seen for other common groceries, in which heightened gas prices and supply chain issues have contributed to big price tags. However, these increasingly alarming egg prices stem from health-related concerns too.

Mary Rapoport, with the Virginia Egg Council, told 8News around 44 million laying hens have died from avian flu in 2022. While Virginia hasn’t been hit too hard by that form of flu, the agricultural economy relies on egg imports from other states — some of which have endured large-scale outbreaks.

“We are actually a deficit state when it comes to egg production,” Rapoport said. “We have to import the eggs. As soon as they get avian flu under control, the prices will start coming down.”

8News searched grocery stores across the community to compare prices. One woman at Walmart audibly gasped at the $8.22 price tag for Walmart-branded, “Great Value,” 18-count large white eggs. Walmart charged $4.88 for “Eggland’s Best” large white eggs. Those same “Eggland’s Best” eggs cost $5.49 at Kroger.

Of course, prices varied significantly depending on factors like egg count, size, brand and whether or not the batch was organic. Kroger and Walmart also tout differing deals each week and have different membership programs, which could further alter prices. Rapoport noted her experience visiting different stores each week.

“It seems every time I’m at the market they’re a different price,” Rapoport said.