Cheap Eggs - Should You Buy Them?

February 7, 2012   51 Comments

Does anyone else get concerned when they see a tag like the one above? Ninety-seven cents for eggs?!!

Cheap Eggs

I feature eggs in many of my recipes and I like them. For all the nutrition they pack in - they are low calorie, fast to cook, and delicious. One large egg has:

72 calories, 5.0 g fat, 0.4 g carbohydrates, 6.3 g protein, 0 g fiber, 70 mg sodium, 2 Points+

An egg also includes 5 % of your daily value of iron and vitamin A. Remember the yolk is the nutrient sack to help the chicken embryo grow into a chick. There's a lot of good stuff in there.

Since I buy and eat a lot of eggs, I don't just buy any brand. My favorite brand was a local farm that my supermarket stocked. I paid $3.49 for a dozen of the most fresh and lovely eggs that I have ever eaten.

Then something sad happened. This local farm decided to close because they couldn't keep up with the latest federal government regulations regarding eggs. Yes, I almost drove down to Washington, DC to strangle those turkeys for messing with my eggs.

I found myself buying the supermarket brand of eggs because that was all the store had stocked. Was I concerned about the quality of the $2 per dozen eggs? A little, but what I found was truly disturbing.

I decided one Sunday morning to make my family some soft boiled eggs and I only had the supermarket brand. As I put them in the water, they cracked. All of them! The shell wasn't hard enough to hold the egg together when it hit the simmering water.

Then, I tried to serve them and they tasted like, well, sulfurous crap. They were inedible - the inedible egg. And, yes, I was mad! Where were my lovely eggs?

I decided to drive to the store and throw them at the store windows. No, I didn't do that - but I did dream about it for a couple of seconds.

I didn't realize until I tried the cheaper generic eggs that I had not only been paying for LOCAL but I had been paying for a quite superior product. What did they feed these chickens at the supermarket farm? Clearly it wasn't the same food they were serving at the local farm.

The factory farm that produced the supermarket egg may have saved me money - but is that savings worth it? The quality of feed for ithe chickens and how they are treated is important to the end product.

I don't think making a cheap egg is a great idea. Hey, I like a deal but this isn't where I am going to cut costs.

And, now, you are going to ask me which eggs are the best, organic? cage free? omega-3? etc. etc. I believe I am spoiled because I have found another local egg farm and their eggs are great. The yolks are orange, they aren't watery, and they taste divine.

If you can find local eggs that cost a bit more and fulfill the above requirements, you are going to do well. I live in the middle of nowhere (near farms) so I can find great eggs.

Where do you find great eggs? Do you find cheap eggs to be a problem?

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Lol! What a great post! This is hilarious. I love farm fresh eggs, they do taste the best! Check out organic, thats the closest you will get. Also try a brand in the supermarket, if yours has one, that is local farm eggs. Even egglands eggs are mid range price and they are ok. As for the dropping the eggs in hot water..LOL! That happens anytime...I usually put the eggs in first, then boil. If I drop them in the eggs usually break!

Eggs are, unfortunately, like a lot of foods in that it's hard to know what you're getting at the supermarket. Sure, the lowest priced ones are a good deal--at least on face value--but you have to wonder what other types of costs you're incurring when buying them. I do buy my eggs at the supermarket, although I pay a little more and get the eggs from cage-free, naturally raised chickens. You can tell they're better quality. I just hope the marketing is a true.

Part of the reason we mostly eat vegan in our house is because we really don't have any idea what's happening to our eggs (also, I don't want to be THAT person looking at every single cheese label for "rennet"). We can sometimes get fresh eggs, Columbus is actually pretty farm friendly for a city, but we have some trouble in the winter months. The best we can do is look for eggs that say, "cage free," "organic," and "vegetarian fed," because we hope those chickens are being treated just a teensy bit better.

BUT, it is completely legal to keep chickens in Columbus proper, so we're actually looking into that.

I just read last week that chickens who are allowed to be free and peck at the ground produce harder shelled eggs because they are ingesting silicon from the dirt which transmutes into calcium which makes the shell hard. I imagine the poor chickens who produce thin shelled eggs are warehoused and not free. I always lower eggs into boiling water. A good fresh egg can take it! My green-thumbed grandmother used to use crushed egg shells to fertilize her plants.

I really want my own chickens but hubby still say no :-(

I will keep badgering away at him tho ;-)

Another great post, Snack Girl! I too have always been suspicious of "clearance eggs" and have avoided them. Freshness is always something I'll pay more for!

Try putting your eggs in pan first, then add water and boil:)

I buy the Eggland's Best eggs. I tried to switch to store brands, but found exactly as you: thin shells, watery yolks, & they taste terrible! I do nuy local in the summer when the farmer's marketis open.

"They were inedible - the inedible egg."

You had me giggling over my coffee this morning. :)

I only buy Egglands Best!

1. Love to buy eggs from a local farmer---always a great product and the freshest tasting. There's a HUGE difference in taste AND yolk color: truth! I think it all comes down to the

feeding AND care of the chickens and the farmer's pride of product. We support the farmers who sells the freshest and best produce!

2. If that's not possible, I look for Nueske's eggs or Trader Joe's cage free organic eggs (always brown eggs...our personal preference.) We have never yet had a bad experience with either brands.

3. Start eggs in COLD water and bring to a boil. That should help alot with cracking: a tip from my grandmother. I also bought an egg timer, which you put directly in the cold water with the eggs for eggs cooked perfectly just as you'd like them!

4. Throw out those cheap foul-smelling eggs and never be tempted to buy them again!

5. Would love a few chicks of my own...

Great post this morning. thnx!

I like Egglands Best too,and they don't cost much more than store brand. Publix brand is pretty good for store brand.

Is there any real difference between brown eggs and white eggs as far as nutrition and taste? I've always just stuck to white for the most part but it is my understanding that the only real difference is that the darker feathered chickend lay brown eggs while white chickens lay the white ones. I could be mistaken though.

We have chickens. Their eggs are better than store bought, but I like store eggs, too. My husband is awesome and takes care of the chickens even though we were both raised in the city. How lucky I am!!!

Funny, I had just started to think about this very issue. I used to hate eggs (!) But grew out of that recently. Now I eat an egg almost every day and, while that means I'd like to cut costs (I'm a grad student), it also means that this is a substance that I'm regularly putting in my body. Thanks for tipping the scales on my decision!

Two words: Country Hen

It's the only egg we allow in our house. Love the newsletter and the philosophy of the company owners. Plus, it's a MA based chicken egg farm which I love!

P.S. Why do all of you buy Egglands? It's a Styrofoam container and that's pretty crappy!!!!! I prefer to buy an egg that comes in cardboard.

I think a big part has to do with age. The cheaper eggs are grown at a big farm somewhere in who knows where, they process them, send them to a warehouse by truck where the warehouse processes them, that sends them to the supermarket once a week, or even worse if it's a national chain to the warehouse of the store that distributes them, then they sit in the back room until shelves get low. By the time you get them they are a week old, then you put them in your frige for a couple days. Local ones cut out the middle men, they go from farm to shelf within a couple of days.

Isn't Egglands Best just another factory farm? I'm going to have to google that.

In the summer months we get lovely farm fresh eggs from our CSA box (only $30 for the whole season to get a dozen eggs included!). We can visit the farm and see the chickens roaming. Unfortunately in the winter months I usually rely on the supermarket...I try to buy Organic Valley and only use them sparingly.

Have you read "Eating Animals" by Jonathon Safran Foer? I'm an omnivore and found this a fascinating and disturbing read about animal farming in the US. It's worth the read.

Egglands Best are pretty good as far as supermarket eggs go. I'm looking for a local supplier myself. Also, no difference between brown and white eggs. White eggs come from white feathered chickens, brown eggs from brown/red feathered chickens. No difference in the nutriet value at all.....brown are more expensive sometimes because that type of hen normally eats more food!

I buy local eggs from a farmer near my home. You can actually find where to buy them from in your area by visiting Many farmers markets have farmers selling their eggs too. It's not just because of the nutrition or superior quality of the egg that drives me to seek these out, although that's a huge part of it. I can't stomach thinking about those chickens that live in quarters so cramped that their beaks must be cut off so they dont peck one another to death - just so 97 cent/dozen eggs can exist! I prefer to vote with my food dollars for better treatment of animals whenever I can. :) It's healthier for them, and it's healthier for my family.

I prefer buying my eggs at the farmers' market. When I don't, I'm always sorry. One look at the yolks says it all! My hubby likes to buy eggs from a guy who giggles when he talks about his chickens.

i used to work on a small farm in western mass (stone soup) so i'm used to having my own fresh farm raised eggs, and i got spoiled. very spoiled. so when i moved back down to miami, i refused to buy them at the store, so the only possible solution was... to buy some chickens! they havent started laying yet but i'm pretty excited, and they're a great conversation starter! haha. cheers

I normally buy organic eggs, but I should pick some up next time I'm at the farmers market.

While I understand your point, eggs are also generally one of th cheapest sources of protein around. For someone living on a budget, I'll take the cheapest eggs I can get and be happy about it.

We actually have our own eggs, we have 8 beautiful, happy free-range - truly free range chickens in our own yard (well neighborhood, because they do roam quite a bit during the day, but always go into their coop at night) we feed them only organic feed & organic scraps of our own food too for treats. they eat all the little bugs i our yard, it's a great relationship, in turn they give us huge incredibly delicious eggs!! i will probably never buy a store bought egg ever again! there is def. a difference.

For quite some time, I was getting a dozen to two dozen eggs a week from a friend with backyard chickens. When for various reasons she wasn't able to supply eggs anymore (hoping she'll start up again soon), I was forced - FORCED! - to buy supermarket eggs. Egglands Best aren't bad, nor are 4 Grain (I think that's the brand), but oh how I miss the local eggs from the chickens I had met and knew by name and saw running around a backyard. Great post!

We have raised our own chickens for 10 years or so, and home-grown eggs and chickens are clearly the best. If you can't find a local farmer, you can try asking the local 4H organization if any members sell eggs. You get good eggs plus supporting a great organization!

I have had my own chickens probably since 1980 with a few years off when I lived in a city. I actually think every apartment needs a chicken. They eat your leftovers and will pick those meat bones clean and give you an egg a day at their peak. Some straw in a cage, no crowing and who will know? Even two chickens. They make superior cakes and other baked goods too. Have you ever had a hard boiled egg that is difficult to peel? That's a fresh egg. If you can let them age a bit before you cook them, then they peel easily. Can you tell I love fresh eggs? You can also freeze eggs by breaking them open and scrambling them with a bit of sugar although that's for you farmers with too many eggs.

I eat a lot of eggs - all of them from local chickens who get to spend their days scratching in the dirt, chasing bugs, and enjoying the sunshine.

In the summer I get my eggs from my CSA but this time of year I use to find farmers near me with eggs to sell. Yourfarmstand was started in Vermont last year but anyone anywhere can use their site to start up a local market in their area.

OOPS in a previous post i suggested a way to freeze eggs....don't scramble them...whip them while raw and add sugar and freeze them in their raw state...sorry

As a professional baker and chef I use a LOT of eggs. Here in Baltimore we have a huge local market that runs from April thru Dec. I buy all my eggs from a local farmer for 2.50 per doz. They are the tastiest! My cakes and cookies are superior because of them. Anyway. the customers of this farmer asked him to transport eggs to the city the months that the market is closed. Viola! We can have our eggs year round. He comes at two week intervals and brings a good supply of all sizes, both brown and white. Talk to your friends and family and contact a local farmer. My guess is that you could work something out.

I get my eggs from the local co-op. The chickens are truly free-range, and they make the brightest orange yolks I've ever seen!

Remember, that cage-free, free-range, etc. labels on most eggs at the grocery store means absolutely nothing. The only way to be assured of the animals' welfare and eating habits is to get to know a local farmer.

I buy local eggs from our farmer's market when we go on the weekends. If not, I buy Trader Joe's cage free organic eggs but at $3.49/dozen, they're not that much more than the farm fresh ones from the market. We were lucky enough to have found a great egg guy who would knock off 25cents per dozen if we brought back the cardboard each week, making a dozen of his eggs only $4- not bad! I wish it were easier to find farm fresh egggs!

We used to raise chickens/eggs when I was a teen. We miss those eggs. Easter Chickens who laid lightly colored eggs (blue, yellow, pink, brown and green). I have a tendency to go for brown eggs rather than white if I can get them.

The chickens used to lay eggs for the cheap brands are from factory farms. The shell is full of calcium carbonate which accounts for how hard it is. You're saying the shell broke which makes sense to me because these chickens are manipulated in a number of ways to lay as many eggs as possible. There bodies can not keep up with the amount of calcium they are losing so the shells will be softer because they contain less calcium. You are better off getting eggs from local farms for a higher price. At least you know they were treated better and not kept in small cages with up to 4 other birds not being able to move! Look it up! Sometimes these factories will even starve the chickens to "shock" them into laying eggs...or used controlled light settings to make them lay eggs more often. It's a very sad industry based on $$$

I am an egg farmer. I raise free-range chickens and the eggs are AMAZING! Another thought to consider is that when you purchase eggs in the grocery store - even if you buy the organic/cage free/free range versions they have been (in most cases) sitting in refridgeration for4 to 5 WEEKS before they are even placed on the shelves. When you buy eggs from a local farmer they were often laid that day or at the very most the last week. PLEASE support your local farmers!!!

In the winter I buy my eggs at a local produce store where they have locally produced milk, cream, real butter and real eggs. In the summer I get them at the farmer's market raised by...real farmers!! The price is usually higher (4 a doz at the store, 3 at the market) but the quality is so much better. (And what other protein is that inexpensive, really?) Egg shell color is determined by the breed of the chicken, but the nutritional value is pretty much the same across the board. 'Cage free' means the chickens live in a room somewhere and they aren't raised in cages. Vegetarian means they've not been fed any animal by-products and Omega 3 indicates they've had flax seed added to their diet. If you see eggs labeled 'fertile' it means a rooster is allowed to run with the hens. Fertile eggs have a shorter shelf life and are more expensive. Finally, if you can find pullet eggs, it means they've been laid by a young hen. They usually have a luscious quality and superior flavor. With eggs, bigger isn't better. Large eggs come from older hens.

Hi. I don't like how factory farmed chickens are kept so I pay more for eggs that either have the certified humanely raised labels on them or they're organic--plus the golden color of the egg yolks is much healthier looking... PS to the vegan who doesn't like the idea of rennet in cheese--you can relax about rennet unless you're buying high end, imported and/or artisanal cheeses. It's too expensive to use veal stomach rennet so most animal rennets are from a stomach cell culture that's been cloned (so maybe calves died originally but the rennet has been produced for a long time without killing any). When I found that out, I was overjoyed--I don't like to kill baby animals but love cheese.

@Sue, we don't buy cheap cheese because we don't eat it that often (so much fat! We eat it as a treat most times). It took me way to long to figure out how many of our favorites were problematic. We all thought it was pretty lame that the more natural the cheese the more likely something had to die to supply it.

But yeah, at least most store brands and american produced cheeses are pretty safe, though factory farmed. It's all a really silly ethical quagmire.

I buy from animal welfare approved farms, or my neighborhood farmer. Eggs don't taste good if the chicken was abused in order to get it. Read up folks, Egglands Best is NOT way to go.

So hard to resist the "sale"! Over the past year we've adjusted to paying $5/dozen for eggs that we get from a local farm, where we also get a monthly meat CSA-style pickup. It's hard to do at first - $5 for eggs! Cripes! - but I just kept thinking about gross, sad, factory-farmed eggs (and meat), and after a bit it just went into that money-well-spent category where you just have to stop thinning about the expense because the product is worth it - like air conditioning, or good chocolate. You either care, or you don't. Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss, and I wish I didn't know the things I do about our food supply...but when you do, well, you can't un-know them, so you get the good stuff. :)

Great post, I'm lucky as down the road

I can get fresh farm eggs. Living in Canada if you can get a dozen eggs for $2.50 you've found an amazing deal. If you want organic eggs you're looking at an average price of $7-8 dozen. You know you have farm fresh eggs when the yolks are orange and the egg white is cloudy (which you would think a cloudy egg white means it's old but in fact is the opposite); as well, if you have a tough time peeling your boiled eggs it means they're fresher as well (some baking soda in the water can help with this).

We have 8 chickens and it took me forever to convince my husband and now he loves them, they are the sweetest pet because they give you a gift every morning!

I almost always buy Egglands Best Eggs! I have never heard of anyone putting the eggs in the water AFTER the water has boiled!! Always put the eggs in first.

I put the eggs in after the water was simmering because I was soft-boiling them. I wanted to cook them for a short period of time.

I agree with Leah...egglands best come in styrofoam which is terrible for the environment, can't be recycled (at least at my house) and is full of chemicals. Ewww...

I raise my own flock of backyard chickens. I normally have 20 to 30 at any given time. I do sell my excess eggs for $2 a dozen. I have a handful of faithful customers I supply every week. We, and they, love our farm fresh eggs. They are far superior in nutrition. The above poster is correct that there is no technical difference in the eggs that are brown or white, just the shell color. However, the color of eggs is not determined by the color of the feather. It is actually the color right by their ear that determines egg color. Check out this link… It gives a lot of insight to the egg business. Love your website :)

I agree with Alta...

Unfortunately, just because the eggs are labeled organic, cage free, or free range, does not mean that the chickens get the nutrition or care that they need to thrive. Often these labels are still made under the assumption that they are fed vegetarian feed, which appeals to most buyers. However chickens were intended to peck around the barnyard, eating whatever they happen to get, and THAT is how you get a nutrient dense egg. If you aren't getting your eggs from a local farmer (i.e. farmer's markets or the farm itself), then you are probably supporting a system that is very cruel to chickens, particularly any male chicks that are born, which get tossed into a chipper as soon as they are sexed. They do not make for good meat, they can't lay eggs, and most people aren't interested in crowing roosters any more. There are plenty of other ways to get the protein you need without consuming eggs, even though I agree, they are delicious, just not something I treat myself to every day, every week or even every month.

best place i"ve found to buy eggs are Dollar Tree 8 or 12 eggs for you guessed it $1 usuusually from Iowa or Ohio

Always worth saving Money cause you that taste eggactly the same eggbeaters are a chemical ripoff good Lord look at that list of ingrediants + way too expensive!!!!!!!

I am very fortunate to have my own chickens so I always know where my eggs come from & what the chickens were fed. And as you say, Snack Girl, they are more delicious & nutritious!

These comments are ridiculous! It is past stupid to drop eggs into boiling water. People with brains start them in cold waterm and even then, don't just drop them in!!

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