Difference between Organic Eggs, Cage Free Eggs and Free Range Eggs
Eggs are laid by birds, reptiles, fish, a few primitive mammals and amphibians. They have a sphere or oval shaped thin crust with colors ranging from white (chicken eggs) to yellow sprinkled with greenish and brownish spots (quail eggs) protecting the albumen and the yolk in the center. Their size varies from species to species. An ostrich’s eggs are bigger than hen eggs. They have been eaten by people since early times under different forms such as hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled and fried as well as an ingredient for various dishes. The taste and texture of the egg depend greatly on the hen’s diet and barn conditions.
In order to produce eggs rich in protein, chicken need to have special barn living conditions. A certain amount of square feet is allocated to each of them so it can have movement space and grow harmoniously. Belt systems were introduced at some organic farms to properly collect eggs without letting hens lay them on the cement ground, but on special nest boxes. Chickens also have access to outdoor locations where they can roam and feed. Free-range eggs, cage free eggs and organic eggs are results of this process which allows chickens to spend more time outside. Statistics have shown that the environment plays an important role when laying eggs. Free-range and cage free chickens still have factory farming conditions.
Chicken are usually fed organic products in organic farms. This means that no genetically modified organisms or chemical treated crops are part of a hen’s diet. Controls are carried out to verify all farms certified to sell organic eggs. In free range and cage free environments chickens can be fed non organic food as in factory farming. This is reflected in the taste and composition free range and cage free eggs have.
Given the living conditions and food provided, chicken eggs have a variable price. Organic eggs cost more because big investments are necessary to ensure all the specifics of the process. Organic food is also more expensive than other types of food. This is also due to the fact that there are a few suppliers of organic chicken food on the market. Free-range and cage free eggs cost less because there is more non-organic food available on the market at small prices and farms can get big supplies of it. Providers can be easily found. Free-range and cage free mediums are much related to factory farming. Therefore it doesn't take too much money to start a business and keep production costs at an acceptable value.
Similarities and Differences
- Living conditions need to include outdoor access for hens in free-range, cage free and organic farms alike.
- Chicken are fed only organic products in organic farms, while in free range and cage free environments they can be fed non organic products too.
- Organic eggs are more expensive than free-range and cage free eggs because production costs are greater.