What's the Difference Between Brown and White Eggs?
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There are all sorts of rumours surrounding brown eggs and white eggs. Some people say that brown eggs are better for you and contain more nutrients; some people think brown eggs taste better; some think that brown eggs are better for cooking things like quiches, while white eggs are better for baking cakes (or vice versa, depending on who you talk to).
We here at Today I Found Out are all about uncovering the truth amongst all of the myths, and so here is the fascinating difference between brown eggs and white eggs:
Brown eggs are brown. White eggs are white.
Seriously, brown or white, they are the same on the inside, with one minor caveat which we'll get to in a minute that has nothing to do with whether the chicken is a brown egg layer or white. But besides that caveat, a brown egg or a white egg will give you the same amount of nutrition, they taste the same, and they are equally delicious in quiches and cakes.
The two also have more or less the same shell thickness. The differences in shell thickness that you may have observed likely has to do with the age of the chicken- young chickens lay eggs with shells that are typically harder than older chickens' eggs, but this is true for both white and brown egg layers.
How the rumours started about brown eggs being "better" is thought to be because they are often more expensive at supermarkets. If something costs more, it has to be better quality or better for you, right? Not in this case (and not in many others either- increasing the price of something, sometimes drastically, is an occasionally used marketing trick to get people to think one product is better than a comparable cheaper product. Sometimes that's true, but many times it's not.)
As for egg prices, brown eggs cost more in part because the hens that lay them usually eat more, which means the hens cost more to keep per egg. You see, white eggs are most often laid by white or light coloured hens with white ear lobes, while brown eggs are most often laid by red-feathered or brown / dark-feathered chickens with red ear lobes. (This is not a universal truth, just a general rule. Further, the chicken's ear lobes are really the indicator here, not the feathers, but there is a very strong correlation between ear lobe colour and feather colour, so feather colour can be a decent indicator too. Ultimately, egg colour is determined by genetics, but the ear-lobe / feather colour thing is a good, though slightly flawed indicator.)
In the end, red-lobed chickens tend to be larger than their white-lobed counterparts, which is why they eat more. The farmers need to get reimbursed for the extra feed somehow, so they up the price of the brown eggs.
This also explains why white eggs tend to be more popular in supermarkets. White-lobed chickens cost less for farmers to keep, which leads to cheaper eggs, which leads to grocers buying more white eggs to put on the shelves to offer this product cheaper to customers. White eggs are simply more cost-effective...