Types of Eggs
The egg case at the grocery store provides a bewildering variety
of descriptions of eggs beyond white and brown. There's pasture
raised, free-range, organic, cage-free, vegetarian and many more
Here's a simple guide to each type!
- White Eggs - If that's all the carton says,
then these come from white hens that are raised in conventional
cage housing systems.
- Brown Eggs - Again, if that's all the
carton says, then these come from white hens that are raised in
conventional cage housing systems. There is no nutritional nor
taste difference between white and brown eggs. It's just
the pigment in the shell.
- Cage-free eggs - The chickens are
raised without cages, but that may also mean that they never go
outside and are overcrowded in a large factory farm.
- Free-Range Eggs - The chickens aren't kept
in cages, but have a barn or aviary with room to run around,
usually including access to outdoor runs (when weather permits).
- Vegetarian Eggs - The hens were were fed
chicken feed that contained only plant-based ingredients.
- Grain-fed - The hens were fed grains, like
- Organic Eggs - If the egg carton is marked
with the USDA's National Organic Program label, then the hens
are uncaged, free to roam in their houses and have access to the
outdoors. The hens are fed an organic diet of feed produced
without conventional pesticides or fertilizers.
- Natural: This term is utterly meaningless.
It only means that nothing was added to the egg.
All eggs meet this criteria.
- Omega-3 Eggs - The hens were fed feed that
contains extra flax (up to 10-20%) to produce eggs that contain
more Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Vitamin-Enhanced Eggs - The hens were fed a
feed that was nutritionally enhanced to include higher levels of
certain vitamins (ie: Vitamin D or Vitamin E). As a result, the
eggs laid by these hens contain corresponding higher amounts of
the particular vitamin(s).
- Egg whites and other Processed Eggs -
Liquid, frozen and dried egg products come from eggs that were
broken by special egg breaking machines, and then pasteurized.
They often contain added ingredients (ie: preservatives,
flavouring or colouring) and this process allows for special
formulations (ie: egg whites only).