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Farm Fresh? Natural? Eggs Not Always What They're Cracked Up To Be

Farm Fresh Natural Eggs Not Always What They re Cracked Up To Be The Salt NPR


You're in the supermarket gathering ingredients for eggnog and a Christmas Bundt cake, and you're staring at a wall of egg cartons. They're plastered with terms that all sound pretty wonderful: All-Natural, Cage-Free, Free-Range, Farm Fresh, Organic, No Hormones, Omega-3. And so on.

And yet the longer you stare at them, the more confused you become. You are tired and hungry, so you just grab the cheapest one — or the one with the most adorable chicken illustration — and head for the checkout line.

This is what I've been doing ever since I moved back to the U.S. five months ago after four years abroad. Then I finally cracked. It was time to figure out what all this egg jargon actually means.

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Most things like "all natural" and "farm fresh" are bull. 

Here are the ones that are actually different:

Cage-free: Most supermarkets. Growing consumer demand has led to wider availability in recent years.

Free-range, organic and pasture-raised: Many grocery stores, local food co-ops, farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs.

That was a helpful article. Looks like "pasture free" is the key phrase to remember.

That was my takeaway, too. Or just go for plain eggs with no marketing added. 

Why hormone free antibiotic free eggs are not worth the extra money:

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