The Gross Truth of Factory Farmed Eggs Vs. Pasture Raised EggsFeb 6, 2023
Eggs, eggs, eggs! Whether you're a morning person who loves cracking open a fresh one or you're a baking enthusiast who can't do without them, understanding the difference between factory-farmed and pasture-raised eggs is a must. We’ll also take a look at what you should be choosing at the grocery store for the most nutrient-dense meal and most humane experience for the chicken.
What’s the Real Difference Between Factory Farmed And Pasture Raised Eggs?
First, let's talk about factory farmed eggs. These eggs come from chickens that are raised in large, crowded buildings with no access to the outdoors.
These chickens are packed in tight spaces and are often given hormones and antibiotics to keep them healthy in such unsanitary conditions.
The eggs these chickens produce are often dirty, misshapen, and have a weaker yolk.
Next up, the pasture raised eggs. These eggs come from chickens that are allowed to roam free on pasture land, where they can forage for bugs, grass, and other natural treats.
These chickens are also not given hormones or antibiotics, which means the eggs they produce are healthier and more nutritious. You’ll get way more bang for your buck (and body) with higher contents of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin e, and other vital nutrients.
The yolks of pasture raised eggs are typically more orange in color (from higher beta-carotene content), and the egg whites are thicker and more flavorful.
So, why does this matter? Well, for starters, factory farmed eggs are often cheaper than pasture raised eggs. But when it comes to the quality and taste of the egg, the difference is night and day. Not to mention, pasture-raised eggs are better for the environment and the chickens themselves.
But don't just take our word for it, try them both and taste the difference for yourself! And if you're feeling adventurous, why not try making a dish with both types of eggs and see which one comes out on top?
The Best Way To Shop For Eggs
The terminology can get pretty confusing, right? Here’s what to keep in mind:
Traditional Factory-Farmed Eggs - don’t say anything on the carton (like we’ve been talking about above) and have 67 square inches of space to live.
Cage Free Eggs - are raised inside barns but they don’t get to go outside at all.
Free Range Eggs - often get 2 square feet of roaming space outside (better) but are often fed corn and soy.
Pasture Raised Eggs - usually get 108 square feet of outside roaming space and feed on grass, bugs, and worms (and sometimes are fed grains).
So what’s the best choice?
You’re looking for organic, pasture-raised eggs, that are soy and corn free.
Typically the best place to look if you checked the grocery store is your local farmer’s market. For example, we’re based out of Austin, Texas and love the brand Shirttail Creek Farms for the best eggs in town.
What’s The Deal With The Current Egg Supply?
If you noticed the sky rocket in egg prices lately, there’s a current egg shortage running rampant. The biggest reason for this, similar to what happened back in 2015, the bird flu is hitting all the chickens hard.
Another reason we found is the quality of chicken feed, which has been reported to be subpar, causing hens to lay fewer eggs. These situations highlight the importance of maintaining high standards for animal feed and proper safety measures in industrial agriculture.
Additionally, a number of industrial chicken farms have experienced fires, leading to further reductions in egg supply (that’s a wild one!).
The Bottom Line When It Comes To Eggs
Next time you're at the grocery store picking up eggs, remember the difference between factory-farmed and pasture-raised eggs. Your taste buds (and your conscience) will thank you.