Shelling Money Out on Eggs? Use Our Label Guide to Get Your Money’s Worth
With egg prices declining from recent highs, you should still ensure you get your money’s worth when you shell out that bacon to buy them.
As per the latest Consumer Price Index data out Tuesday, a dozen large eggs cost $2.67 on average in May, down from $3.27 in April and below January’s $4.82 price. The government index that tracks egg prices fell 13.8% in May, the largest decrease in that index since January 1951. Wild if you ask us.
It seems that eggs are back! And if you are cracking out your wallet, you might think that label options seem endless and the numerous carton labels are confusing, so what are you paying for?
We put together a handy guide for you to compare some label terms so what you are buying meets your eggspectations:
Farm Fresh, Natural, No Hormones labels
To be blunt, eggs labeled “Farm Fresh” or “Natural” aren’t necessarily that. No specific requirements exist to add a farm fresh or natural label to an egg carton. At least according to the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, which regulates our food safety, the no hormones label must be sourced to chickens who have never been given hormones.
Egg colors and pricing
Sometimes egg color influences pricing. For example, if you see brown eggs at higher prices, the hens that lay them are usually larger and need more food (although sometimes brown eggs actually are slightly larger on average than white eggs marked as the same size grade). The color of an egg relates to the breed of the chicken. Despite the varying breeds and colors, all eggs have about the same nutritional value.
Similar to cage-free eggs, producers of pasture-raised eggs claim their hens have spent time outdoors. Still, there is no guarantee on how much time the chicken spends in the pasture because no direct regulations apply to the use of the pasture-raised label. A better way to be sure if your egg came from a chicken that spent a good deal of time outdoors is to check if there is a ‘Certified Humane’ or ‘American Humane Certified’ label on the carton. Human-certified chickens must have access to a pasture to earn this label, making this label vital if you’re looking for eggs from chickens with cage-free outdoor access.
Organic v. Non-Organic
Eggs labeled organic reflect how the chickens were fed. The hens that lay organic eggs must be provided an organic diet without synthetic pesticides or GMOs and have access to the outdoors (another term for this is free-range). According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, these hens are also antibiotic-free.
Now that you know what some of the egg labels mean check those carton labels before you buy.
Regarding prices, experts say they may not fully return to previous levels anytime soon as the poultry industry recovers from the 2023 avian bird flu outbreak.