Eggs 101 : Understanding the Labels

So many eggs, so little time.

Have you ever noticed how many egg options there are at the grocery store?

The prices range from $3.99 to as high as $6.99 for a carton of eggs.

Why such a large price gap? What do all these terms mean, and why does it matter?

To help clear up some of the confusion I have broken out all the types of eggs I have come across and laid out some details. I hope this helps you make a more informed decision during your next grocery visit.

Caged: (if carton is not marked cage-free, we should assume these chickens are in cages.) These chickens typically don’t see the light of day and are confined to tiny cages for their entire life.

Cage Free: This means that the hens laying those eggs are not kept in cages. While that sounds good, the label has a limited legal definition. These chickens may be free from cages, but may only have limited space inside a hen house.

Free-Range: The “free-range” label requires that the hens be allowed outside. With that being said, the amount of time they are allowed outside and the conditions of that outside area is not defined.

Pasture-Raised:  According to Vital Farm’s website, these hens are given at least 108 square feet each and consume some feed and lots of grass, bugs, worms and anything else they can find in the dirt. I also found this image from Vital Farm’s website showing the different amount of space chickens are given. CRAZY

Needless to say, I will only be buying pasture raised. It grosses me out to eat eggs that come from a poor little hen trapped in a cage or confined to a small space.

It is also true that eggs taste better when it comes from a healthy and happy chicken. You will also notice deeper orange yolks and less runny egg whites.

The cost of pasture raised eggs is on the high end, but seems well worth it to me.

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