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East County News Service

August 19, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – An Avian Flu outbreak has caused 48,000 chickens and other poultry to be  put to death to prevent spread of the deadly disease, CBS news reports.  That’s caused the price of eggs to skyrocket—and has left some restaurant owners scrambling to find substitute ingredients.

10 News reports that Pierre Aoun, owner of the Ranch House restaurant in Santee, says his egg bill has jumped from $100 a week to $600 a week.  Lakeside egg rancher Frank Hilliker says he’s never seen egg prices so high.

In California, the cost of complying with a new cage-free humane egg farming law has also pushed prices upwards.

Some restaurants have pulled key egg dishes off menus. Souplantation has yanked boiled eggs from its salad bars and Panda Express is now serving up fried rice made without eggs.

Nicole Reese is a former pastry chef who now works for Glanbia, a company that makes an egg replacement product and now has its phones reportedly ringing off the hook as demand increases due to the egg shortage.  But she admits, “People like eggs. We would prefer to be using eggs.”

Yokes bring out moisture and richness in baked goods, while egg whites add structure to items such as sponge cakes, as well as flavor. While substitutes such as whey protein, bean protein or algae can be substituted in some uses,  none are all that they’re cracked up to be—and to date there is no perfect replacement for eggs.