Once holiday season rolls around, so does baking season. Well, extra-often-and-in-large-amounts baking season. That means lots of flour, lots of yeast, sugar, spices, butter, and yes, eggs.
Have you ever see how high egg prices can get around Easter ??? Unbelievable.
But still, baked goods are delicious and amazing, and almost all of them require eggs to bind and raise the dough or batter. When you go and buy eggs, you’re notice they’re actually pretty cheap, especially when you look at the price per item.
Why are eggs so cheap ? Aside from the holidays, we mean. After all, they’re an animal product and those are usually pricey, compared to vegetables and juice, and grains and whatnot.
Well today we’re getting to the bottom of it all, so read on to find out !
Why are eggs so cheap ?
Eggs are cheap because most come from battery raised hens. They are easy to raise and produce many eggs, so the demand for eggs is easy to meet.
There are breeds of chicken that can lay up to 300 eggs per year. In a large farm that can mean hundreds of thousands of eggs per year, just from that farm. There are hundreds of chicken farms across America, and just as more in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
In short, eggs are easy to produce, and turn a relatively high profit. There is no need to price them higher, unless there’s a surge in demand like the holidays.
All that being said, there are a few other things you have to consider when looking at egg prices. Things like brand name and egg size. But for now let’s start with where the eggs come from.
Read also: Is There Egg In Bread ?
Most eggs are battery eggs
Possibly the cheapest way to produce eggs, batter raised hens are kept in wire cages and produce eggs every few days. This is a very profitable process for farmers, and very uncomfortable for the chickens.
You’ll know the eggs are battery eggs because there is always a label on the egg carton, stating where the eggs come from. If not, there should be a grade (A, B, C, D, etc.) and an explanation for each grade inside the carton.
The lowest grade is battery eggs. In some places that’s grade C, and in some it’s D, or E, depending on how many legal ways there are to raise chickens for eggs.
Battery vs free range eggs
You’ve probably heard of battery eggs, and you’ve heard of free range and organic eggs. The trouble is that battery eggs are cheap, reliable, but very hard on the hens.
Free range and organic eggs mean the hens can move around a barn or yard, and are generally less cramped. These eggs are laid a little less frequently, but the overall quality is better.
This leads to a significant hike in price, with organic eggs being even 4 times more than battery eggs. Most folks don’t look at what the grading means, they just see the price and will tend to go for the cheaper eggs.
You also have to look at egg size
Another important factor to look at is egg size. Whether it’s a battery egg or a free range or pastured one, the size will determine the price.
Eggs come in different sizes, according to the hen’s size. Some breeds grow large and produce large eggs, while some are smaller and produce smaller eggs.
Each region or country has its own size chart, but the smallest eggs will always be the cheapest. They’re usually less than 50 gr/1.76 oz, with America introducing the ‘peewee’ size at under 35.4 gr/1.25 oz.
So next time you’re looking at cheap eggs, check to see their size. We know because we’ve been bamboozled a couple of time by that flashy sign screaming SALE over the egg aisle. Once we got there we noticed that yes, the eggs were cheap. The tiny ones that you need 2 of at a time (no, not quail eggs).
Store brand eggs are always cheaper
Whenever you go and buy eggs, you’ll be faced with different cartons from different brands. Some are cheaper, some are more expensive. But the cheapest are always the store brand ones.
Sometimes they won’t even be named after the store, but when you look at the packaging it will state that the farm produces the eggs and sells them for the store, under their own name. Like an undercover store brand.
Why does this happen ? If a store buys from an egg selling company they have to mark up the shelf price, to get a profit. If they sell their own eggs, bought directly from the farmers, they pay much less in transport and fees.
If the store has its own farm, then the process is even simples and there are less middlemen. So the overall price will be way smaller.
You can see this with dairy and meat as well. A carton of UHT milk will be half the price if store brand, as will the yoghurt or cheese. Even if the quality is ultimately the same.
In short, eggs are easy to produce and the legislation isn’t very protective of hens, even nowadays. There’s many ways to skirt the battery cage ban, for example by providing cages just a little bigger or offering a perch.
If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier