Food Labels 101: Free-Range, Cage-Free or Pasture-Raised Eggs

Do you know the difference between pasture-raised, free-range and cage-free when it comes to your eggs? These food labels all sound like the chickens have outdoor spaces to roam and are not stuck inside, behind bars – right? We thought it was time to dig a little deeper and compare the living conditions that need to be met for the hens of these farms to be allowed to label their egg cartons anything special, and put together this infographic with the help of our friends at Vital Farms.

Turns out, the best label for eggs to go after is “pasture-raised” (surprise!). Not just because of the food comprised of pasture and organic feed, but also because it is the only certification that requires the hens to have easy outdoor access. Think: the chickens can walk outside by themselves and come back whenever they want, as compared to squeezing their heads through a pop hole to get some fresh air.

Here’s a comparison of how pasture-raised truly is better than free-range and cage-free living conditions:

Keep in mind that these are the minimum requirements for each label, and some free-range farms are actually giving enough space to their animals as well as organic, non-antibiotic feed, which also affects the yolk color of the egg.

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One Comment

  1. Athena

    I feel like eggs are the most important food to make informed decisions on. I usually by cage free, organic or free run. I’m glad I read this article. Pasture raised eggs are what i’ll be looking for on my next shopping trip. Thank you.

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