Everything You Need to Know About Buying Eggs Right Now
If your egg aisle is stocked a little differently right now, there's a reason for it.
Your grocery shopping might be looking a little different these days. Aisles at the grocery store are stocked a bit differently and you may even be ordering everything online. If you've been baking or flipping omelets regularly, you might have noticed that your egg selection isn't exactly what it used to be. Some shoppers are finding new sizes and grades of eggs in their grocery stores for the first time. If you're finding the egg aisle is looking a little different these days, there's a reason for it. Here's what you need to know.
How Eggs Are Usually Sold
There’s a lot more to selling eggs than you might think. Egg producers, egg product manufactures and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have pretty specific guidelines in place to determine quality and safety for eggs.
Eggs are graded in classes of AA, A and Grade B in reference to the integrity of the yolk and white. Eggs are inspected under a special type of light to view inside the shell. Grade AA have the thickest white and roundest yolk while Grade A (the most popular eggs sold at grocery stores) demonstrate slightly less quality. Grade B eggs, while perfectly safe to eat, have thinner whites and flatter yolks and are often sold to companies that use them for egg products instead of directly to consumers.
Eggs also come in different colors and sizes. This color variation has no impact on quality or nutritional value, but the size of the egg does matter. Eggs are categorized according to weight per dozen and vary in six size categories ranging from “Jumbo” to “PeeWee”. If you have seen “Large” or “Extra-Large” eggs referenced in a recipe, this actually means something. Large eggs (the most popular for recipes) stack up to 24 ounces per dozen and “Extra-Large” 27 ounces per dozen. You may also see “Medium” eggs at the store and those are 21 ounces per dozen. These different size eggs yield slightly different nutritional values and volumes, so it’s important to attention to the sizes when baking.
What's Changing In the Egg Aisle?
According to the FDA, there has been greater demand for eggs at grocery stores. Since more folks are preparing meals at home, there is a lessened demand for egg orders at restaurants. To solve this imbalance, the FDA has a temporarily installed a policy to tweak the way eggs are distributed.
According to the American Egg Board, this policy means that eggs are safe, but being distributed in a different way. Eggs that would normally be processed for food manufacturing or food service sectors are being allowed to enter retail grocery stores, subject to additional testing requirements. Eggs can also be marketed at retail outlets in flats or cartons without labels, as long as the retailer posts nutrition and other information nearby. (You'll want to check out this info to find out what size eggs you're buying — especially if you plan on baking with them.) This gives shoppers access to eggs that would normally have gone into restaurants or other food-service markets.
Eggs may be looking a little different at the grocery store, but this temporary move by the FDA will hopefully allow for increase supply to meet consumer demands, and help out farmers, too.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.