The Philadelphia-based company will replace custard with soft-serve ice cream for the time being in all of its more than 600 locations. Rita’s did not provide a date by which custard will be back on the menu, but wrote that it will be brought back “as soon as we know that we have access to a sustainable supply of eggs.”
Rita’s admitted that there is a “slight difference in taste and texture” between new soft-serve ice cream and the original custard, but promised that the soft-serve “comes pretty darn close.”
As of June, the avian flu had killed up to 47 million egg-laying hens, making it the worst avian flu pandemic in American history. The crisis has sent egg prices skyrocketing; American consumers will spend roughly $8 billion more on eggs this year, a 75% increase from last year’s spending.