2

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Are Pastured Eggs Worth It?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 01, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Over the past year, I've been buying pastured eggs pretty much exclusively. I've leaned toward the Vital Farms variety from Whole Foods. Recently, however, I've grown frustrated with the $7 price tag, and I'm wondering whether they offer the extra nutrition to warrant it. I understand paying more for grass-fed beef because conventional seems to have the capacity to negatively impact one's health. I'm not sure the same is true of eggs. conventional eggs still seem relatively nutritious, especially the variety fortified with omega 3's. So my question is whether it is worth paying over twice as much for pasture raised eggs. If the answer to that question happens to be yes (according to research rather than anecdotal evidence), then does anyone know of any sources for less expensive pastured eggs?

F20af1e0c77eff221d556e3db0fc5684

(248)

on July 05, 2013
at 06:34 AM

You're right: looking at some nutrient comparisons of grass/grain fed beef, the differences are even stronger than for pastured eggs. I stand corrected! And now that I understand your question better, perhaps there's more need for a chicken to "transfer nutrients generously" to an egg, than for a cow to "transfer nutrients generously" to muscle meat. Just a guess.

D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3

(455)

on July 02, 2013
at 02:15 AM

Sure, even the vital egg yolks vary a lot but more bugs = higher nutrient density. Conventionally raised chickens don't eat any bugs. That was my point.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 02, 2013
at 12:26 AM

@Mathgirl, exactly. Its the large commercial "organic" production layers that get fed stuff to fool consumers, not backyard chickens with forage and chicken chow.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 02, 2013
at 12:25 AM

Very good point. Backyard chicken flocks usually have access to much better forage, even if supplemented with commercial chicken chow.

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on July 01, 2013
at 07:25 PM

Yep, I'm familiar with Dey Dey. Great products all around, but also far too expensive all around. If I'm around the Mar Vista farmer's market, I'll check it out, but it's not really my neck of the woods. Thanks for the input!

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d

(726)

on July 01, 2013
at 06:43 PM

The lady who sells almonds at the Mar Vista farmers market sometimes has eggs for $5/dozen. I'm pretty sure they're pastured, and their taste is similar to Vital Farms, which is the brand I usually buy. I'd say LA's best are from Dey Dey's (bestbeefever.org), but they're $8/dozen and almost always gone before the market opens, so you have to order them about a week in advance.

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on July 01, 2013
at 06:24 PM

Thanks for the articles. Worth considering. I'm curious though; why do you think the difference between pastured vs. conventional eggs is larger than the difference between grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef? Even if there is a different nutrient profile, conventional eggs are still chock full of vitamins and are still healthful. Grain fed beef has little to boast about. My question is driven by that point -- I'm failing to see how conventional eggs still seem nourishing. They seem, in fact, to boost one's health. I can't see how that might the case for grain-fed beef.

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on July 01, 2013
at 06:15 PM

Los Angeles. They are definitely not $4.75 here.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 01, 2013
at 05:57 PM

where do you live? They are $4.75 at whole foods in the DC area.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 01, 2013
at 05:02 PM

"You can tell by the color of the yolks." Not so, at all. Supplementing soy-filled feed with marigolds gives crap eggs a beautiful orange yolk. Even my backyard flock, which enjoys soy-free, organic feed and lots of fresh produce, weeds, and bugs have varying yolk colors, depending on what they ate.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 01, 2013
at 04:47 PM

Many folks who have a small flock simply charge enough that their able to recoup their feed costs - that's who you need to buy from. They won't be at the farmers market, but there's more of them out there than you think. Of course, if you live in center of an urban area, you're not going to run into these folks.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 01, 2013
at 04:45 PM

Farmers markets jack prices up to sell to suckers...

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on July 01, 2013
at 03:59 PM

I frequent local farmer's markets, and the egg producers at them charge pretty much the same as Whole Foods. I've never gone straight to a farm, so maybe that would be cheaper. But honestly I just don't have it in my schedule to start making trips to farms exclusively for eggs.

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9 Answers

3
F20af1e0c77eff221d556e3db0fc5684

on July 01, 2013
at 05:45 PM

Pastured eggs have significantly different nutritional profiles than conventional eggs. For some details, see this article. I'm guessing the difference is larger than grassfed vs grainfed beef, for the lean cuts, at least.

It's hard to say whether they're "worth it", I think that will vary with your food budget, health issues, etc.

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on July 01, 2013
at 06:24 PM

Thanks for the articles. Worth considering. I'm curious though; why do you think the difference between pastured vs. conventional eggs is larger than the difference between grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef? Even if there is a different nutrient profile, conventional eggs are still chock full of vitamins and are still healthful. Grain fed beef has little to boast about. My question is driven by that point -- I'm failing to see how conventional eggs still seem nourishing. They seem, in fact, to boost one's health. I can't see how that might the case for grain-fed beef.

F20af1e0c77eff221d556e3db0fc5684

(248)

on July 05, 2013
at 06:34 AM

You're right: looking at some nutrient comparisons of grass/grain fed beef, the differences are even stronger than for pastured eggs. I stand corrected! And now that I understand your question better, perhaps there's more need for a chicken to "transfer nutrients generously" to an egg, than for a cow to "transfer nutrients generously" to muscle meat. Just a guess.

2
3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

on July 01, 2013
at 09:02 PM

From what I hear it's often questionable as to how much supposed "pasture" as in bugs, worms etc these chickens get even if they go outside. Unless they have a very large area to roam or are rotated from pasture to pasture they deplete the supply of bugs and worms rather quickly and are still mostly existing on the feed (organic or not) that virtually all are also given.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 02, 2013
at 12:25 AM

Very good point. Backyard chicken flocks usually have access to much better forage, even if supplemented with commercial chicken chow.

1
2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

on July 01, 2013
at 06:03 PM

Vitold eggs are not worth it because of the price and that they eat soy and corn and 100% vegetarian feed. I'm guessing you live in Toronto? If you do live there I can hook you up with real pastured eggs gmo free/3.50 a pound. Also a great source to look up is kijiji and look for pastured eggs.

Pastured eggs in general are 100% worth it for their nutritional content, the humane practices and the support of real farmers. Also, the ones at whole foods (even though they are more expensive) are the kind that say Eggs grown on green grass (forget the name but they are pasture raised and from the Amish).

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 01, 2013
at 03:50 PM

For $7 a dozen, no, I would say it's not worth it. You can find local backyard producers who produce great eggs who will often sell for $2-3 a dozen.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 01, 2013
at 04:45 PM

Farmers markets jack prices up to sell to suckers...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 01, 2013
at 04:47 PM

Many folks who have a small flock simply charge enough that their able to recoup their feed costs - that's who you need to buy from. They won't be at the farmers market, but there's more of them out there than you think. Of course, if you live in center of an urban area, you're not going to run into these folks.

8894ece18cd108655ed18f2056172c1c

(250)

on July 01, 2013
at 03:59 PM

I frequent local farmer's markets, and the egg producers at them charge pretty much the same as Whole Foods. I've never gone straight to a farm, so maybe that would be cheaper. But honestly I just don't have it in my schedule to start making trips to farms exclusively for eggs.

0
B2064dc21ee7981cd4c5b4b1d30432c8

(0)

on July 01, 2013
at 09:32 PM

Pastured eggs are only good if you can get it from a farmer or a brand you trust because chickens are treated poorly and most conventional eggs whether organic or not are feed soy, which is not good if you allergic to soy or trying to go soy free. Buy pastured chickens online from a company called Tropical Traditions.

http://www.grassfedtraditions.com/pastured_poultry.htm

The egg yolk is where all the nutrition is, so the better the chickens eat the more nutritious and tasty the whole egg will be. If your concerned pesticides just eat the egg white. I do once in a while because I just love it with salsa.

0
Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

on July 01, 2013
at 06:52 PM

I alike many of you consume eggs very regularly. In my case I eat 3 eggs every day, and as of late I have become quite the egg Nazi so to speak. I live in Northern California and one of the larger brand name is Judy's. I ate those soley for 3 months until I read reports that the chickens are raised in horrible conditions. So I then went to Soy Free eats and they tasted better but then I read that they also treated their chickens awfully. Finally at my local whole foods Vital pastured eggs went on sale for $6.99 a dozen (regularly $8.50) and although in my opinion the yolks seem rather pale to me. At my local giant farmers market there is a farm named Marin Sun Farms and they are very local to me but they sell their medium pastured eggs for 8$ a dozen and they blow Vital Farms away super dark and rich yolk but 8$ a dozen is hard for me to swallow especially considering almost 3 dozen eggs a week are consumed I had to find an alternative. So I did I found a local smaller farm that sells pastured eggs at 6$ a dozen. The yolks are huge, dense, and orange and the flavor is noticeably better than Vital and Marin Sun Farms. So to answer the original question yes pastured eggs are definitely worth it.

0
D1d9b0d839144b72b5f5dae893a686d3

(602)

on July 01, 2013
at 05:52 PM

They are much better and I buy them, but they are only $4.50 here. For $7 I might just eat fewer eggs and more meat.

0
D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3

on July 01, 2013
at 04:51 PM

I buy the same eggs. I think it's worth it. Chickens are meant to eat bugs, not soy filled feed. You can tell by the color of the yolks. Vital egg yolks are typically orange whereas store bought cheap eggs are bright yellow. I eat 3 every morning. A $1.75 breakfast is a lot cheaper than what I used to spend on breakfast.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 02, 2013
at 12:26 AM

@Mathgirl, exactly. Its the large commercial "organic" production layers that get fed stuff to fool consumers, not backyard chickens with forage and chicken chow.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 01, 2013
at 05:02 PM

"You can tell by the color of the yolks." Not so, at all. Supplementing soy-filled feed with marigolds gives crap eggs a beautiful orange yolk. Even my backyard flock, which enjoys soy-free, organic feed and lots of fresh produce, weeds, and bugs have varying yolk colors, depending on what they ate.

D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3

(455)

on July 02, 2013
at 02:15 AM

Sure, even the vital egg yolks vary a lot but more bugs = higher nutrient density. Conventionally raised chickens don't eat any bugs. That was my point.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 02, 2013
at 06:52 PM

[EDIT: haters gonna hate]

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