This Is Why Some Eggs Are Significantly More Expensive


Sea Wave/ShutterstockIt seems like an egg is an egg. They don’t need pesticides, no egg-laying chickens get hormones, and there are never any ingredients added. So why are some more expensive, and are they worth the price?

Some of the priciest eggs you’ll see in the supermarket are cage-free and pasture-raised. They sound similar, but neither means the chickens are necessarily roaming free on the farm. Most conventional eggs come from chickens that live in indoor cages. The cages are stacked, and each one fits four to twelve birds, according to NPR, so they’re the cheapest way for a farmer to produce a lot of eggs.

If you’re buying cage-free, the chickens that laid the eggs weren’t confined to the 67 square inches or so. But that doesn’t mean they have prime space to stretch their wings. Even cage-free birds could be indoors, and they have an average of just one square foot to themselves. Find out what other misleading food label tricks you keep falling for.

“Cage-free just means they can roam in an open area, whereas with pasture-raised, they’re actually outside,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Caroline Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Those pasture-raised chickens spend most of their time outside, where they can eat a natural diet of worms, grass, and bugs with their corn feed.