In my extended family, there are people that use white and brown eggs. I know that my family members that use brown eggs act superior to the others that use white eggs. Well, my family knows that I am an Animal Science major and that I took an Animal Products class but they don’t know that I know the true difference between white and brown eggs. I am not going to get into the organic vs nonorganic because that is a whole different ball game. So you ask what is the difference? The difference in egg color is the breed of the chicken. That’s it. You would think it would be a lot more complicated but it’s really not.
What Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?
Chickens are interesting animals. Some people may not think that but I think they are pretty cool. The anatomy of chickens is complicated in certain ways but they have a system that works to create new chickens as well as food for us.
The egg of the chicken has a lot of nutritional value for us. Some think that the white of the egg, which is called the albumen, has the most nutritional value but actually, the yolk has the most nutrition in the egg. The yolk holds most of the fat and vitamins compared to the white. When you put them together you get a great nutritional item that is great for breakfast.
Infographic by: The Poultry Site
Why do People Think Brown is Better?
In the last 10 years or so there has been a push for knowing exactly where our food comes from. This is commonly known as Farm to Table. So looking at eggs and their color, people are going with the brown egg because it is more “natural” looking compared to the white-looking egg. People thinking like this is perfect for big companies to harp on because they can provide the right product advertising so they can make more bang for their buck. People will totally fall for that thinking that they are getting a better quality when really they are just paying more for the same egg.
The only real difference in a nonorganic brown and white egg is the color of the yolk and the size of the egg itself. So looking at the size of eggs there are six different sizes of eggs according to the USDA. The different sizes really just mean that the nutritional value of the egg will change because there will either be less or more of the egg continents inside. Looking at the color of the yolk, there are three common different colors. Dark orange and yellow are the most common colors of yolks. The hens were most likely fed corn and alfalfa which is high in xanthophyll, a fat-soluble pigment. The other color is a light yellow which means that there is less of the xanthophyll. They are both nutritionally roughly the same; it just really boils down to what the hen ate, which then determines the color of the yolk.
Photo courtesy of Why Don’t You Try This?
Picking the color of an egg when it is nonorganic really doesn’t matter at all. The white and brown eggs are the same; it’s all on preference. If you prefer to pay more for a brown egg, go for it. Now knowing that the nutritional value is the same, I’d like to save some money and go for the white eggs.