You may not have considered it before, but the average chicken lays over 250 eggs a year!
While the natural color of an egg can vary from white to brown, the majority of store-bought eggs are white. But why?
In this article, we’ll explore the various factors that can influence the color of eggs, and how store-bought eggs are chosen to be white.
By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of why white eggs are the most common in supermarkets.
The Color of Chicken Breeds
You may be surprised to learn that the color of chicken breeds can affect the color of the eggs they produce.
Different breeds of chickens lay eggs of different colors, ranging from white to green, blue, pink, and even brown. The color of the egg is determined by the breed and diet of the hen.
Free range eggs, which come from chickens that are allowed to roam freely and eat a varied diet, produce eggs in a variety of colors.
On the other hand, factory farmed eggs, which come from chickens that are kept in tight confinement and fed a limited diet, typically produce white eggs.
Thus, store-bought eggs are usually white due to the chickens being kept in industrial-style farming facilities.
The color of the egg shell can provide insight into the type of environment the chickens were raised in.
Natural Egg Color Variations
Besides store-bought eggs typically being white, there are naturally occurring variations in egg color that can be found in hens raised in more natural environments.
Free range eggs, in particular, can come in a variety of colors, including a light blue, brown, and green. This is due to the breed diversity of hens that are kept in these environments.
Chickens that are kept in more natural surroundings often have a wider diversity of breeds than those in more traditional settings, which is why more varied egg colors can be found.
The color of their eggs is also determined by the pigmentation of the hen’s earlobes and their diet.
Brown-eared hens tend to lay brown eggs, while white-eared hens lay white eggs. The diet of the hen also plays a role, as certain foods can influence the color of the egg.
The Impact of Diet on Egg Color
You may not realize, but the diet of a hen can have an effect on the color of their eggs.
While the most common egg color is white, due to genetic inheritance, the diet of a hen can influence the color of their eggs.
For example, hens that consume more yellow-orange pigments, like marigold petals, may lay eggs in shades of brown, blue, green, or even pink.
In commercial farming, where hens are fed a diet of corn and soy, the eggs are more likely to be white.
The lack of pigments in these diets means the eggs won’t take on any other color. Even if the hen were to consume petals, the pigments wouldn’t be picked up by the eggshells.
Therefore, commercial farming has led to a decrease in egg color variation.
Unnatural Egg Color Variations
Apart from natural variations, store-bought eggs may come in unnatural colors as well. This is due to the commercial egg production industry adding feed additives that can change the color of the eggshell.
These additives are added to the hen feed for various reasons, such as to increase the production rate of the eggs, increase the size of the eggs, or improve the color of the eggshell.
The use of these additives affects the color of the eggshell, making it whiter than a naturally produced egg.
This is why store-bought eggs are typically white, while eggs produced naturally tend to be brown, green, cream, or speckled. Furthermore, some feed additives can also affect the nutrition and flavor of the egg.
The use of unnatural additives in egg production is a controversial topic, as it can potentially put the health of consumers at risk.
It’s important to understand the implications of these additives, and to remain informed about the food products we consume.
How Store-Bought Eggs Are Selected
You may be wondering how store-bought eggs get selected, and what criteria they must meet. Egg grading is the process of assessing the quality of eggs and assigning them a grade based on various factors.
Grade A eggs are the highest quality and those are the ones that usually end up in the stores.
Grade A eggs must have a strong and intact shell, and their contents must be free of any discoloration, blood, or other defects. The egg labeling process is an important part of the egg grading system.
This is when the eggs are labeled with a code, which includes the date of packaging, the size of the egg, and the grade.
This code is an important way to ensure that consumers get fresh eggs and to help them identify the grade of the eggs. Egg grading and egg labeling help to ensure that the store-bought eggs that end up on your table are the highest quality available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Store-Bought Eggs Safe to Eat?
Yes, store-bought eggs are safe to eat! Egg safety standards are strictly enforced and all food labeling is accurate. You can trust that the eggs are carefully inspected and are of the highest quality. Knowing this, you can confidently enjoy eggs knowing they meet the food safety requirements you deserve.
Are Store-Bought Eggs Fresher Than Eggs From a Farm?
You may find store-bought eggs fresher than eggs from a farm, depending on the conditions of the farm. Eggs from organically fed chickens have fewer hormones and antibiotics than battery caged chickens, making them fresher. Enjoy the freshest eggs and join a community that values organic farming methods.
What Ingredients Are Used to Make Store-Bought Egg Shells?
You may be surprised to learn that store-bought egg shells are fortified with minerals and shell colorings. These ingredients help give the eggs a consistent look and texture. The result is a pristine white egg for you to enjoy.
Are Store-Bought Eggs More Nutritious Than Farm-Fresh Eggs?
You may be surprised to hear that store-bought eggs can be more nutritious than farm-fresh eggs, despite their lack of organic labeling. This is due to the shell color: white eggs are higher in essential vitamins and minerals than brown eggs. Enjoy this fact and consider purchasing store-bought eggs for better nutrition.
Are Store-Bought Eggs From Free-Range Chickens?
Yes, store-bought eggs can be from free-range chickens. These chickens must meet certain standards for animal welfare and must have access to the outdoors to be considered free-range. Knowing that the eggs you buy adhere to these standards gives you a sense of belonging to a larger community that cares about animal welfare.
You’ve learned that the natural color of eggs is determined by the breed of chicken, and that diet can also have an impact.
In addition, you’ve seen that there are unnatural egg colors, but store-bought eggs are typically white.
So next time you crack an egg, remember that the color might tell you something about the chicken that laid it – and that’s just one of the many fascinating things about these everyday staples.