What is the Difference between White and Brown Eggs?


The Egg: A Grocery Store Conundrum

Eggs are a ubiquitous grocery store item, but with the expansion of egg products to include several sizes of egg, omega-3 enriched eggs, organic eggs and the like, the typical grocery shopper may find themselves scratching their heads. To make matters worse, we now have to ponder the difference between white and brown eggs.

Brown Eggs: Better for You?

We’ve all noticed the difference in price. Perhaps the brown eggs are also packaged in a carton with a more earth-friendly look or with words like “special” written across the top. But don’t be fooled, fellow egg-lovers. There is but one vital difference between white and brown eggs: their color.

According to the Egg Nutrition Center (yes, it is a thing), the color of the egg’s shell is not related to the quality, flavor, or nutritional content of the egg itself. In fact, the difference in shell color is due to the difference in the chicken’s breed. Simply put, chickens with white feathers and white ear lobes lay white eggs and chickens with red feathers and red ear lobes lay brown eggs. No, we have never looked closely at a chicken’s ear lobe either, but the color of their feathers is an easy enough identifier.

So why the difference in price? Like most things, it’s a matter of economics. Red hens are larger than their white counterparts and therefore require more sustenance to thrive. Higher food costs equal higher store prices.

No, Really, Aren’t Brown Eggs Better?

Some egg connoisseurs claim that brown eggs are more tasty than white eggs. This may have been true at one time, but as it is generally considered an unfounded claim today in the world of commercialized egg production, we remain unconvinced.  If it is nutritional quality you are looking for, instead focus on other variables such as farming practices.

The healthiest eggs are reported to be those that come from vegetarian fed hens. Eggs can be cultivated to have higher nutrient content, such as increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids due to the diets of the hens producing the eggs. Others are certified organic because of the organic feed given to the hen. Look for eggs that are also free of antibiotics and growth hormones. No need for unhealthy additives. Another consideration for the best eggs is the lifestyle question. Studies suggest that hens that forage in grass pastures produce higher quality and more nutritional eggs. So look for free-range eggs to reap the benefits of a happier, healthier chicken. Just be sure not to get caught up in the common misconceptions between free-range and cage-free eggs.

Visit the Egg Nutrition Center to get your egg-on.

Or, for more information on free-range eggs, click here.


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