Years ago, we asked our friends on Facebook, “How Much Do You Pay for a Dozen Organic Eggs?” and we received a ton of responses.
We learned that most respondents paid around $3.50 for a dozen organic eggs. The lowest price paid was $2 for a 12-count. Raising your own hens costs about $1 in feed per dozen eggs. And, using Fresh Direct coupons was a popular way to save money on organic eggs.
Since we first posed that question, however, a few things have changed.
Many factors go into determining the prices of organic eggs, and below we take a look at:
- what makes organic eggs different
- why organic eggs cost more than non-organic eggs
- high-rated egg producers and consumer favorites
- the price of organic eggs according to location
- ways to save money on organic eggs
The Price of a Dozen of Eggs
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein, eggs promote a healthy lifestyle by assisting muscle strength, the brain, eyes, glands, weight management, and pregnancy.
Scrambled eggs, frittatas, and egg salad!
Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., the largest egg producer in the country announced good news for egg eaters—the average price for a dozen eggs has decreased.
In the past year, conventionally-produced egg prices have dropped about 30%, from $1.31 to 92 cents. The reason? The U.S. has an oversupply of eggs.
The number of hens is at a near-record high—there are 330 million birds laying eggs since the beginning of September—about 800,000 more than last year.
So, what does that mean for the price of organic eggs?
Cal-Maine also reports that prices for “specialty eggs” (which bundles cage-free and organic varieties together) are also down (only 1.4% from last year).
Because of this, brands like Egg-Land’s Best and Land O’ Lakes cost slightly less than last year.
However, organic eggs, as a whole, maintain a much higher cost than non-organic eggs.
And there are a few significant reasons why.
What Makes Organic Eggs Different?
Eggs that are organic are produced by hens that are fed a diet free from the kind of chemicals that can cause potential harm to egg production and the quality of eggs.
Not all eggs are created equal, and one of the healthiest ways to consume an all-natural source of high-quality protein is to pay the extra cost for organic eggs.
Organic eggs are produced by hens that are fed a diet free from the kind of chemicals that can cause potential harm to egg production and the quality of eggs.
The feed cannot include crop ingredients that have been:
- treated with pesticides or herbicides
- genetically modified
- grown with fertilizers that contain chemicals or synthetic additives
Organically-raised chickens have not been treated with growth hormones or antibiotics.
USDA-certified organic eggs also come from hens that aren’t kept in tiny cages; these enclosures do not promote a healthy or sanitary environment for chickens. These birds must also have the option to gain access to the outdoors.
Farmers and commercial egg companies must pass annual inspections and meet specific requirements set by the National Organic Standard Board to officially use the label “certified organic” for their eggs.
How to Determine the Best Eggs for Your Health
Organic eggs are considered better for your health because they do not involve the kinds of pesticides and chemicals used in food production known to make people sick.
Eggs contain vitamins, minerals, and are high in protein, which promote a healthy lifestyle by assisting muscle strength, the brain, eyes, glands, weight management, and pregnancy.
Organic eggs are considered better for your health because their production does not involve the kinds of pesticides and chemicals known to cause illness.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food-related chemicals are linked to numerous health concerns ranging from skin irritations to cancer.
When shopping organic, you’ll also encounter a variety of terms that often mislead consumers into thinking they’re buying the healthiest eggs.
- “Free-roaming” and “cage-free” are not the same thing as “organic“; hens may have free reign of an enclosed property, but it doesn’t mean they’re fed an organic diet.
- “Hormone-free” is another tricky term because all eggs on the market are supposed to be free of growth hormones—both conventional and organic options.
It’s also a misnomer to assume that all brown eggs are organic. Egg color has nothing to do with whether an egg is organic; it merely indicates the breed and physical characteristics of the bird laying the eggs.
Another way to buy the best eggs for your health is to purchase from highly-rated, reputable farms.
Egg Quality Scoring System
The Cornucopia Institute Organic Egg Scorecard is a valuable resource that highlights the best organic eggs to buy. This public interest group rates farms from all over the United States.
Organic egg producers are evaluated on a scale from 1 to 5, with “5” given to top-rated farms.
A “5-egg” rating is given to diverse family-scale farms that go “Beyond Organic” farm practices, such as raising hens in mobile housing on well-managed and ample pasture.
Farms with a 5-egg rating from the Institute include:
- Eight Mile Creek Farm (New York)
- Common Good Farm (Nebraska)
- Village Farm (Maine)
- Farm and Wildness (Virginia)
- Burroughs Family Farm (California)
A “4-egg” rating is given to farms that provide “Excellent” living conditions for their birds, such as access to ample outdoor space and a dynamic outdoor environment.
A “3-egg” rating means a farm provides “Very Good” living conditions for hens which meet the minimum USDA standards, such as having (or presently building) a “meaningful” outdoor space.
A “2-egg” rating means a farm displays “Fair” egg production practices; however, some questions and concerns remain regarding their compliance with USDA organic regulations.
A “1-egg” rating cites an organic egg producer as “ethically deficient”—a rank given to farms with no meaningful outdoor access for birds or if they have declined to be evaluated.
Transparency regarding the organic food market is essential, and refusing to participate in such an assessment is considered a red flag by the Institute.
Nationwide grocery store chains with 1-egg ratings:
- Eggland’s Best
- Horizon Organic
- Land O’Lakes
Eggs are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best organic eggs to eat.
Outside of buying eggs at local farms and farmer’s markets, store-bought organic egg brands that rank high with consumers include:
- Vital Farms and 365 Organics (Whole Foods),
- Trader Joe’s Organic Free Range Eggs,
- Meijer Organics,
- Organic Valley,
- Nature’s Yoke,
- Farmers’ Hen House,
- World’s Best Eggs,
- Giving Nature,
- Wilcox Farms.
How Much Do Organic Eggs Cost?
It’s no secret that organic eggs cost more than conventional ‘regular’ eggs.
It’s no secret that organic eggs cost more than conventional “regular” eggs.
- On average, organic eggs cost $4 to $7 per dozen.
- Non-organic eggs currently range from $0.97 to $3 per dozen.
As of September 30, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Egg Market News Report cites the average retail price for a dozen large brown organic eggs as $4.15.
To keep up with certified organic egg prices, the USDA publishes the weekly Poultry Market News & Analysis, which includes wholesale and retail information on organic brown eggs.
New reports are released every Monday and can be used to follow egg price trends.
Family-owned, organic egg farms run their businesses differently and must charge more for their eggs than grocery stores to make a profit, usually around $4.50 to $7 or more per dozen.
As farmers strive to meet organic certification requirements and raise the healthiest chickens, it’s the extra expenses they incur (such as insurance charges, certification fees, licenses, egg cartons, labels, and boxes for bulk delivery) that contribute to their higher egg prices.
To get an idea of the average cost for a dozen organic eggs sold at various locations, consider the following prices reported by consumers from all over the United States:
- $3.99 to $5.49 for a dozen at Target in Upstate New York
- $3.99 for 12-count Simple Truth Organic eggs at Kroger in Michigan
- $6.39 for 2 dozen or $3.21 per dozen at Costco
- $6.49 for an 18-count at BJ’s Wholesale Club
- $4.50 local pickup in California via Etsy
- $4.98 at Walmart in New York
- $3.99 for organic, free-range large eggs at Trader Joe’s
- $4.19 for organic brown eggs at a Bay Area Whole Foods
- $6 per dozen sold at a farm in Fairbanks, Alaska
- $5.99 for Vital Farms Alfresco Pasture-Raised Grade A Large Eggs in Michigan
- $9.99 for Alexandre Farms Organic Eggs from Pastured Hens
- $7.29 for Pete and Gerry’s Organic Jumbo Eggs via Instacart
What Affects the Price of an Egg?
The following factors play an essential role in affecting the overall price of eggs:
Regions with higher price points for groceries obviously charge the highest prices for eggs.
Climate also plays a role. The more extreme the weather, the higher egg prices tend to rise because farmers must spend more money to protect chickens from environmental challenges such as life-threatening heat waves, heavy rain, and floods.
Where You Buy From
Commercially-produced organic eggs sold at a supermarket tend to cost less than those sold at let’s say, the farmer’s market. Lacking the advantages that come with mass production, smaller, family-owned farms generally charge a higher price for their organic eggs to make a profit.
Inter-Store Price Difference
The price for a dozen eggs varies from store to store and fluctuates when sales are held.
Farmer Business Practices
Local farmers may offer various ways for consumers to cut costs, such as lowering the price of organic eggs by 50 cents when repeat customers bring back their cartons to reuse.
4 Ways to Save Money When Choosing Organic Eggs
1. Use a Coupon
You can check the Sunday newspaper to see if there is a coupon for organic eggs available. When online, consider using a grocery promo code for an organic brand to help save even more.
2. Buy in Bulk
Although the taste and production methods of mass-market organic eggs are sometimes viewed as less desirable than organic eggs from family-owned farms, purchasing in bulk (like paying around $6 for 2 dozen eggs at Costco) is still a smart, money-saving move.
3. Catch a Farmer’s Market Special
You can stop by a farmer’s market towards the last hour for a better chance at scoring a deal on organic eggs; farmers who drive miles to deliver their goods tend to slash prices by day’s end.
4. Raise Organic Chickens
Although not a feasible option for everyone, consider raising your own chickens to produce organic eggs. Start-up costs include food, labor, and housing, but in the end, some people feel the savings are worth it in the long run.
5 Health Benefits of Organic Eggs
While organic egg prices are higher than conventional eggs, the associated benefits are certainly well worth the extra cost if you’re looking to make a healthier purchase.
Although organic egg prices are higher than conventional eggs, the associated benefits are undoubtedly worth the extra cost if you’re looking to make a healthier purchase.
Chickens treated in a humane manner, such as having access to outdoor space to roam and flex their feathers, live in the best environment known for producing healthier eggs that contain a higher level of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Five health benefits of organic eggs that make the price a bit easier to swallow include:
1. Higher Level of Sanitation
The majority of egg production in the U.S. (over 90%) originates from caged hens confined to small spaces. Not only does the health of the birds suffer, but consumers also face a higher risk of health threats such as Salmonella contamination.
2. More Nutritious
Hens able to display natural behaviors, roam freely about a pasture, encounter fewer stresses, and consume a healthier diet are more likely to produce healthier eggs.
Studies also show that pasture-raised organic eggs have one-third of the cholesterol and one-fourth of the saturated fat compared to conventional eggs.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamins
According to the British Journal of Nutrition, there is evidence that organic production can boost essential nutrients in foods, and that organic dairy contains about 50% more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic items.
Organic eggs also contain 40% more vitamin A and two times as much vitamin E.
4. Reduced Chemical Exposure
Studies show that antibiotics often found in non-organic chicken feed can linger in a hen’s egg for up to seven days. Organic eggs are free of the chemical residues commonly found in conventional eggs tainted by antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful substances.
Last but not least, organic eggs are often noted for producing a darker yolk and having a “much richer taste,” which is attributed to the diet that organically-fed hens receive.
Organic Online Stores
If you are looking for other ways to buy organic (and save money), check out the following organic brands and shops featured on Giving Assistant: