Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University releases updated egg cost study

Semis on highway with text, New Report Released: Processing, Cartoning & Transporting Costs Updated

AMES, Iowa — The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has released an updated study to provide the U.S. egg industry with important post-production cost information.

The study helps egg farmers compare industry costs with their own operational costs of processing (washing, and weighing), putting eggs in cartons, and transporting eggs to market. Therefore, the processing, cartoning and transporting report is referred to as the PCT study.

“Using 2021 data provided by egg farmers, we estimated that for the most common egg type reported by U.S. producers (eggs processed on the farm where they are produced), PCT costs averaged about 47 cents for every dozen eggs produced,” said Maro Ibarburu, associate scientist and business analyst for the Egg Industry Center (EIC).

The updated analysis reflects a turbulent market year, with pandemic-related market disruptions and marked labor shortages yielding PCT costs roughly 20% higher than 2020. The study can be found at and was updated due to interest from industry organizations.

Derreck Nassar, President and CEO of the United States Egg Marketers, Inc. helped clarify the importance of the study for the egg industry: “The Egg Industry Center’s PCT report plays a vital role in benchmarking post-production costs of eggs for the supply chain. This ultimately primes egg farmers and stakeholders alike to be more efficient and competitive while resulting in more value for consumers.”

One challenge faced by EIC was low survey responses, so there was no estimate for eggs trucked from a farm to a processing facility. “The off-line dataset we developed had two very different clusters of prices,” Ibarburu said. “The prices were too far apart without enough data points to draw a trustable conclusion.”

Overall, the largest difference between the new analysis and past studies occurred in the processing cost versus packaging or transport costs.

“EIC is happy to provide egg farmers with relevant and timely, scientifically-based information to help them advance their operations,” Ibarburu said.

The Egg Industry Center was established at Iowa State in 2008. Its mission is to add value to the egg industry by facilitating research and learning for egg producers, processors and consumers through national and international collaboration. To find more information on the center, visit