Arkansas Egg Company: Cracks in the Specialty Egg Market
Michael Cox, a third generation producer of eggs based in the small town of Summers, Arkansas, converted production in 2007 from conventional caged white eggs to specialty eggs bearing the marketing attributes of organic, cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised. Although he did this to secure contracts with better margins, in 2016 there was a glut of conventional white eggs on the market and that was depressing prices. Because of this, consumers were switching from expensive specialty eggs to the cheap white eggs. Now a key contract that Cox had with CCF Brands for the output of 150,000 hens laying certified USDA organic cage-free eggs was expiring. Faced with selling the eggs at a loss on the open market, Cox must decide what to do. In this case students can study a number of basic and advanced managerial accounting concepts, including relevant and irrelevant costs for short-term decision making, break-even analyses, sell or process further, and when to drop a product. Students will build a table for marginal revenue and marginal cost for egg production. This analysis is more advanced because the hens do not generate revenue evenly of the production cycle while the variable costs are relatively even. This case is well suited for an undergraduate or graduate course in managerial accounting covering short-term decision-making. Although receiving light treatment in the instructor's manual, the case could also be used to study longer term business strategy.