Consumers may be feeling some relief at the grocery store as egg prices begin to drop. The volume of a trailer load of loose eggs fell 35 percent, down from 30 percent the week before according to a new report from the USDA. The price for a white large shell egg fell 15 cents to $2.16 per dozen, while the price on the New York market fell by 23 cents to $3.13 per dozen. 

The Midwest also saw a price drop falling 58 cents to $3.29 per dozen. In California, which has been hit with some of the highest egg prices in recent months, the price dropped 35 cents to $5.62 per dozen. 

High egg prices have forced consumer demand down as people switch to alternatives including raising their own chickens. National media has also played a role in the drop in demand as more outlets covered the surge in prices, creating broader consumer awareness and spurring a resistance movement.

An avian flu that’s wiped out egg-producing hens, leading to a major squeeze, is one of the reasons for the shortage. According to the USDA, about 60 million birds are gone because of the disease so far. Farmers across the country have had to destroy entire flocks of chickens if one or more of the birds test positive for the avian flu.

Retailers have been anxious to see prices stabilize in the face of record-breaking wholesale prices. Producers are also working to meet expected demand ahead of Easter. Demand is also down slightly as promotional campaigns shift to Valentine’s Day and football in the coming weeks. 

Producers are working hard to meet their cage-free commitments requiring 66.7 billion cage-free eggs per year to meet 100 percent of needs from an approximate cage-free flock of 221.4 million hens. Analysts predict a shortage of 127.8 million hens from the current non-organic cage-free flock of 83.6 million hens.