Are brown eggs better quality?

Eggs are great, I love eggs. I’ve given up bread for Lent, so I’m having to dip sausages into my boiled eggs at the moment, which is actually a really great thing. It could well last beyond lent.

Anyhoo, I was chatting with someone on the bus about eggs earlier (as you do) and the question of shell colour arose. As you can imagine it would, on a rainy Monday morning on a packed 521 bus. Shell colour doesn’t actually have any relevance to quality, interestingly enough. But while in the US white eggs are preferred and brown used in industry, in the UK the opposite is true. Nice little Monday factoid for you. And here’s the reference from Wikipedia.

Egg shell color is caused by pigment deposition during egg formation in the oviduct and can vary according to species and breed, from the more common white or brown to pink or speckled blue-green. In general, chicken breeds with white ear lobes lay white eggs, whereas chickens with red ear lobes lay brown eggs.[15] Although there is no significant link between shell color and nutritional value, there is often a cultural preference for one color over another. For example, in most regions of the United States, chicken eggs are generally white; while in the northeast of that country, and in countries as diverse as Costa Rica, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, they are generally light-brown. In Brazil and Poland, white chicken eggs are generally regarded as industrial, and brown or reddish ones are preferred.

I wonder if white eggs are seen to be in some way cleaner by Americans, while Brits see brown eggs as more good ‘n’ proper and from an organic farm or something. What do you think?


5 thoughts on “Are brown eggs better quality?

  1. When I was a little girl white eggs were preferred in this country. However, when we started to go for naturally grown food and wholemeal bread (1960’s, 70’s) I suppose we started thinking that brown eggs looked more natural. I reckon you could be right about why the Americans prefer white!

  2. As you correctly say, egg shell colour has no bearing on the flavour inside.

    As apprentice hen-keepers, we did lots of experiments involving different breeds and different feed.

    What you feed your chickens is the only thing that makes a difference to the flavour of your eggs. And scraps from the table, fat, cheese rind, left-over veg etc all improve the flavour.

    Flavour often improves in summer, too, with flies and other insects contributing extra protein.

  3. There was a short period of time about 25 years ago I think when one of the supermarkets sold brown eggs at a higher price than white ones.

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