Eggselent Observations And Questions

Editor’s note: The following is a piece from one of our readers who is a local consumer, Jo Russell. We thought it was pretty interesting and hope you do too.

Just curious if anyone knows why…

Last week, a friend told me that the eggs she preferred to buy at a local supermarket had increased in cost to almost $6.00 for a carton of 18 eggs. The store clerk she talked to apologized for the high price but did not know why the increase had occurred.

I visited the East End Walmart and the Super 1 stores and found that indeed, a carton of 18 AA Large eggs from our local Montana Eggs, LLC, was priced at $5.48. These eggs were not labeled as organic or cage free, etc. The store brand eggs at the two stores, same number, same size, from a company distribution center out of state were priced at $1.88 and $2.18.

“We are just wondering why a business that was given some generous breaks to build and market here in Great Falls charges almost 3 times as much for eggs.”

And here’s a recent update to Jo’s original observations:

I know this is not headline news around town but my friends and I became more interested as we looked into it. Three different grocery store employees could not explain the price differences, but they didn’t tell us they can charge whatever price they wish for their merchandise or dismiss us as old and not very smart.

We all understand  that Great Falls shoppers have the freedom to purchase  the size and “quality” of eggs they wish. We were just a bit confused when we noticed all  the price differences between the “local” Montana Eggs, LLC business and the eggs shipped into town under grocers’ labels.

The Montana Egg cartons I have seen at Walmart, Albertson’s, and Smith’s advertise that their eggs are “United Egg Producers Certified.”  Does this imply that a higher price is justified?

I visited some stores today to recheck some prices. Sam’s Club offered 5 DOZEN AA Large Montana Eggs in cartons and packaged,  for “around $12.00”,  according to a customer who posted on April 9.

Walmart offered their own brand of Great Value AA  18-count Large eggs for $2.33.  Their MONTANA EGGS 18-count Large eggs costs $5.48.

Smith’s offered their Kroger brand 18-count AA Large eggs at $2.38.

The MONTANA EGGS 18-count AA Large eggs are $6.59.

PLUS:  Smith’s had stickers near the eggs, stating these were “CUSTOMER REQUESTED ITEM.”

Albertson’s displayed their Lucerne store brand 18-count AA Large eggs at $2.39.  The MONTANA EGGS 18-count Large eggs cost $6.59.

Super 1 store brand Western Family 18-count AA Large eggs cost $2.28.  There were NO MONTANA EGG 18-count cartons on display when I visited today.

Jo Russell

Reader interactions

2 Replies to “Eggselent Observations And Questions”

  1. Good question. The hutterites have really changed dramatically over the last forty years. And with the recent attempt to turn Montana into a factory farm CAFO state, they are bringing a lot of scrutiny upon themselves. People are starting to pay attention to their business practices and intentions and how they affect society as a whole. It’s time.


  2. And I’m hearing that the process followed for the Wilcox Family Farms/Montana Eggs, LLC is similar to what is being planned for the Madison Food Park/Friesen operation. Hutterite colonies join together and ship their products to a plant, thereby stopping the competition among themselves. The managing company processes the chickens, pork, and beef from colonies…and then ships the finished products far and wide. The Great Falls Tribune has mentioned Hutterite colonies in southern Alberta as instrumental in the planning or vision for what is being proposed in Cascade County. The TRIB has also mentioned that “the wealth” from a huge operation like this “passes through Great Falls.” Surely, our County Commissioners and the Zoning Board owe residents an explanation for supporting something like this and financial incentives or tax breaks that are being discussed. The upcoming Zoning Board meeting and Commissioners’ meeting will be very interesting.


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