When it comes to egg color, many people have a preference.
White eggs are preferred by some because they are seen to be cleaner and/or taste better, whereas brown eggs are favored by others because they are thought to be healthier or more natural.
But do brown and white eggs really differ that much inside?
Read on to find out if there really is a superior type of egg in terms of health benefits and flavor profiles.
1. Eggs come in a variety of colors
It’s not uncommon to see both brown and white chicken eggs at the grocery store.
Yet many are at a loss to explain the phenomenon of varying egg colors.
The basic answer is that different chicken breeds lay different colored eggs. Chickens of the White Leghorn breed produce eggs with a white shell, while those of the Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red breeds produce brown eggs.
Some chicken varieties, including the Araucana, Ameraucana, Dongxiang, and Lushi, even lay blue or blue-green eggs.
Pigments produced by the hens account for the variety in eggshell colors. Protoporphyrin IX is the primary brown pigment found in eggshells. It’s made using heme, the pigment responsible for blood’s red color.
Biliverdin, the main blue pigment in eggshells, is also formed from heme. The same pigment gives bruises their characteristic bluish green color.
Even among the same breed of hens, there can be a wide range of eggshell colors due to differences in genetic dominance.
Although genetics is the most important component, environmental circumstances also have a role in determining egg color.
Example: brown egg laying hens produce larger, whiter eggs as they age.
In addition to the hen’s genetics, her nutrition, and her stress levels may all play a role in the color of her shell.
These variations in tone are not intrinsic to the color itself but can affect how noticeable they are. When it comes to determining egg color, breed still matters most.