Are Expensive Eggs Worth It? A Deep Dive into the Ethical, Nutritional, and Flavor Differences

In this video, the narrator explores the question of whether expensive eggs are worth the price. They examine the ethical considerations of different egg production methods, such as caged, cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised eggs. The narrator also discusses the potential nutritional differences between egg types, including the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. In taste tests comparing different eggs, the narrator finds minimal differences in flavor, texture, and aroma. However, visually, the egg yolks of pasture-raised eggs tend to have a deeper orange color. Ultimately, the decision to purchase more expensive eggs depends on individual preferences and priorities.

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Key Insights:

– Eggs are versatile and have unlimited use cases as a protein source or an ingredient in sauces and other dishes.
– The price of eggs has increased, with the lowest cost being 15 cents per egg and the most expensive being 92 cents per egg.
– Expensive eggs are often claimed to be worth it for three main reasons: they are more ethical and humane, healthier for you, and taste better.
– The ethical and humane aspect of eggs depends on the living conditions of the hens, with cage-free, free range, and pasture-raised eggs being better options.
– There can be nutritional differences in eggs based on factors such as the hen’s diet and egg certifications, but the differences may not be significant enough to conclude that expensive eggs are inherently healthier.
– When it comes to taste, there may be slight differences in flavor, aroma, and texture between different types of eggs, but overall, expensive eggs do not necessarily taste better than cheaper ones.
– Sight plays a significant role in perception, and visually appealing eggs with vibrant yolk color can enhance the overall experience of a dish.
– Ultimately, the choice to buy expensive eggs depends on personal preferences, values, and budget, and it is important to make an informed decision based on individual needs and priorities.


In this video, we are doing a deep dive into eggs, which are one of the most unique ingredients on the planet. They have almost unlimited use cases for being eaten as a protein or can be used as an ingredient in sauces like Mayo, the yolks in pasta, or the whites for meringue. However, there’s something I’ve wondered for years, are the more expensive eggs actually worth it?

Lately, like a lot of other grocery items, egg prices have only gone up. The lowest cost I saw in the store was just 15 cents per egg, while the most expensive was 92 cents per egg. Which may not sound like a lot, but if you were eating an egg or two for breakfast most days, that can add up to a couple of hundred dollars per year. Not to mention, there is a ton of confusing information about exactly what is better about more expensive eggs. For example, does the yolk color actually correlate to a better-tasting one?

Well, that changes with this video. Those who say that expensive eggs are worth it will typically cite one of these three reasons:

1. Expensive eggs are more ethical and humane.
2. Expensive eggs are healthier for you.
3. Expensive eggs taste better.

So, these are the questions you will be able to answer by the end of this video, along with many other questions you probably have. My goal is to lay out all the information so you can make an informed and confident decision the next time you are at the grocery store.

So, where do we begin? Well, first let’s take a step back and learn how the egg became a mass-produced commodity. Today, a single laying hen can produce 300 eggs per year, leading to a total US egg production of almost 100 billion.

Now, let me tell you the two reasons why today’s sponsor, Made In, makes my favorite non-stick cookware that you’ll be seeing in this video. One, these pans are oven-safe up to 500 degrees and they are double-cured, so this surface will last a lot longer than other non-stick pans and 70 times longer than ceramic non-stick surfaces. I’ve used this 8-inch pan for the past year and a half or so, and it’s still in really great shape, just like this brand new one right here. However, the second reason that makes these special is actually what’s underneath. Made In uses their 5-ply stainless steel underneath the non-stick coating, meaning this pan will heat evenly and quickly, not just for eggs but for searing or sautéing vegetables and proteins that you don’t want to stick. You’ll see me using these non-stick pans throughout the video, so head to the link in my description to save on your order.

Now, let’s learn a little bit about egg history. One of the reasons why chickens were domesticated was for their prolific egg-laying abilities. Some fowl only lay a set number of eggs at a time, but chickens keep laying eggs until they’ve gathered a full nest. So, if an egg is taken by a predator or a human, the hen will continue to lay eggs indefinitely in hopes of filling up her nest. Can you imagine how important this discovery was for early humans?

According to „On Food and Cooking,“ because of a chicken’s ability to provide almost unlimited food, chickens were actually valued more for their egg production than for their meat. Chickens likely became domesticated around 7 to 10,000 years ago, and by contrast, dairy milking actually began a few thousand years later.

Today, though, the modern egg and chicken are a product of genetic optimization, with very little remaining diversity among industrial breeds. In the chicken breast video, we covered how the massive modern broiler chickens are a cross between the Cornish and Plymouth chicken varieties for maximum breast size. For egg production, chickens are mostly a result of crossing four parent varieties: the Cornish and the Plymouth for size, then the white Leghorn and the Rhode Island Red for egg-laying talents and improved shell color.

Starting in the 20th century, mass egg production took off thanks to these optimized genetics and the rise of industrialization. Now, a single production facility might have 100,000 to over a million laying chickens at once. And most of these chickens live their life inside, under bright lights and temperature-regulating devices, eat a manufactured diet, and live for about a year or two, during which they lay 200 to 300 eggs, or about one per day.

Once their egg production decreases, though, they are sent off for slaughter. However, because these chickens are older, if you remember from the chicken breast video, most supermarket chickens are 6 to 14 weeks old for meat. These old egg-laying chickens won’t be used for human food but likely for protein feed or pet food production.

Now, the ROI on chicken feed to eggs is crazy. Three pounds of commercial feed can turn into one pound of eggs and be sold for a much higher price. Of course, while broiler chickens can gain one pound of meat for every two pounds of feed, they can only be slaughtered once, yielding maybe four pounds of meat. Egg-laying chickens, on the other hand, can be fed over and over and produce more food. Those 300 eggs they produce each year may weigh two ounces or about 55 grams, leading to 30 to 40 pounds of eggs.

Keep in mind, though, these numbers only apply to female chickens or hens. Male chicks are actually euthanized with gas or macerated minutes or hours after hatching, since they provide no economic value to egg production facilities. Aside from the living conditions of the hens, the discarding of male chicks is one of the top cited ethical considerations for mass-produced eggs. And this actually happens at facilities making cage-free, organic, and even free-range eggs. We’ll talk a bit more about these terms in a bit. However, new technology is beginning to be used where eggs can be scanned prior to hatching to determine the sex of the eggs, meaning male eggs can be discarded before they actually hatch. Facilities in Europe have begun to adopt this technology, and it will likely become more common worldwide.

It’s estimated by the World Society for the Protection of Animals that in 2024, the average American will consume 293 eggs per person, or a little over 24 dozen. However, if the average home cook is going to be using a couple hundred eggs per year, I think it’s important to know what we are paying for when trying to evaluate whether we should buy a $2 or potentially $10 dozen of eggs at the grocery store.

So, let’s answer question number one: Are expensive eggs more ethical and humane? Yes, there are clear differences in how chickens are raised for laying eggs, whether it’s in cages, cage-free, free-range, or pasture-raised. However, within these categories, there might be some variability in how the chickens‘ living conditions are. If you want to ensure that chicken has the highest standard of living, I would look for certified humane pasture-raised eggs. These, by far, have the strictest standards.

Secondly, are expensive eggs healthier for you? There can be small macro and micronutrient differences between egg types. However, there isn’t enough evidence to conclude that more expensive eggs are significantly healthier. You would need to evaluate the rest of your diet and lifestyle to see if it makes sense for you.

Lastly, do expensive eggs taste better? No, there may be minor differences in taste, texture, and aroma, but nothing significant. The visual perception of color, though, may influence our psychological perception of flavor. So, sight may matter when it comes to eggs.

In conclusion, it’s up to you to decide whether the additional cost of expensive eggs is worth it. Each person has to weigh their own values, tastes, and budgets when making a decision at the grocery store.