COVID Baking Boom Boosts Egg Carton Demand

US demand for egg cartons is forecast to increase 3.6% per year to $612 million (equivalent to 4.7 billion units) in 2024, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis. Sales growth will be driven by:

  • rising consumption of eggs sold at grocery stores, supermarkets, and other retail outlets, especially in the near term as shoppers boost at-home baking
  • increasing demand for eggs among consumers looking for healthy ways to increase protein
  • expanding use of higher cost cartons, particularly those with premium graphic capabilities or sustainability advantages

COVID Spurs Egg Demand Surge & Supply Chain Disruptions

Demand for eggs as well as cartons spiked amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as homebound consumers turned to baking to quell boredom and generally began cooking more at home due to voluntary or state-mandated restrictions on public activities such as going out to eat:

  • At the pandemic’s onset in March, the egg industry experienced supply chain disruptions as producers faced a huge drop off in demand from shut-down foodservice outlets and US consumers changed their shopping habits.
  • Shoppers significantly increased purchases of, and began hoarding, essential items like eggs as part of “crisis-induced shopping”.
  • Consequently, US food retailers faced an egg shortage and egg prices began to spike, leading a number of retail outlets began instituting rationing policies to help increase availability.
  • Additionally, as egg producers shifted their supply from foodservice outlets to supermarkets, significant pressure was exerted on the inventory of retail egg cartons, leading to a shortage.

Nonetheless, tightness in egg carton supplies has begun to ease as fears of egg shortages have relaxed and as panic buying by consumers has tapered off. Additionally, the FDA temporarily relaxed a number of regulations to support supply levels, including certain packaging and labeling requirements. Demand for eggs and egg cartons is expected to return to a more stable pattern over the long term.

Looking for More?

Egg Cartons is now available from The Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the US market for egg cartons by material (expanded polystyrene foam, molded pulp, rigid plastic). Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 are presented for egg cartons in current US dollars (including inflation) and in units.