I bet you have heard this before!
Brown eggs are healthier than white ones.
But cakes turn out better baked with white eggs!
While all in all brown eggs taste better.
Is this really true?
To answer this question, I guess we have to dig in a little deeper. Why are brown eggs brown and white eggs white anyway?
Why are brown eggs brown and white eggs white?
It is pure genetics and depends on the kind of chicken, the species, laying the egg. It is a fact that chicken with white ear lobes lay white eggs, while chicken with red ear lobes lay brown eggs. The color of the feathers fitting the color of the eggs can be a hint but is not 100% accurate.
All eggs start out white in color. A pigment called protoporphyrin gives the brown color. It is added on the eggs late in the process of forming the shell. Inside all eggs are the same. And there is the beginning of the difference. The chicken egg’s quality depends on the way the chicken is raised, fed and treated – not the color.
How did the myth start?
Brown eggs were always more expensive in supermarkets because the brown egg laying chicken are more expensive to raise and are more popular for meat production (they simply eat a lot). So more expensive is better? Did this start the ‘myth’?
Now a lot of organic chicken farmers do raise brown egg laying chicken. Why? Speculations are that because of the ‘myth’ that brown eggs are healthier organic farmers do offer brown eggs, making their customers happy who are ready to pay a little more for health.
The chicken egg’s quality depends on the way the chicken is raised, fed and treated – not the color.
How are eggs labeled?
As convenient as it would be to just look at the color, to be sure about the quality we have to read labels or know the production farm ourselves.
In the USA the egg boxes are labeled. And it is quite complicated. Here is a nice link with explanations to all the label-readings.
In the European Union the egg itself is labeled with a defined egg code that consists of:
- a number indicating the method of production
- a two letter code for the country of origin, e.g. UK for the United Kingdom
- a registration number indicating the hen laying establishment
During my studies I came along India as well. There seems to be no clear labeling but interestingly, eggs are not considered vegetarian. Might there be roosters present at the farms?
You can make a conscious decision now
What will you do the next time you enter a supermarket?
Will you grab the white eggs because they are cheaper?
Will you avoid the brown eggs because I told you the difference in quality is not in the color?
Or will you take some time and read the labels and choose an egg coming from a chicken which has some quality in its life as well?
Whatever you will do, you are an educated egg-byer now and can make a conscious decision!