I had the opportunity to visit Nigeria and to learn firsthand about the feed and the egg market of Western Africa. The reality today is hunger and disease is still a big problem and economic inequality is easy to find everywhere. Even in these conditions, I found that egg farmers evaluate the quality of the feed, by the color of the egg yolk. Even one of the feed mills has a line of feed that is called ‘Golden Yolk”. Is this a correct approach?
I was talking to an American colleague last week and we were discussing egg quality and the customer perception. Even as there is a shortage of eggs in the USA market, still the quality of the shell eggs in the shelf is actually very good. Egg producers, distributors and retailers take really good care on selecting only the best eggs to go to the table of the consumer and that is true for many industrialized countries where eggs have been branded. Just like milk, eggs is one of the most branded animal products. When branding, keeping a good name via quality is paramount.
Do you care about how the hen producing your eggs was maintained and raised? We have very different consumer attitudes towards this very question. All of them relevant when deciding how to produce eggs and how to select eggs for your breakfast or dinner.
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated World Egg day in Kaiseraugst, Switzerland (DSM headquarters), and I was happy to take the opportunity to talk about eggs with my colleagues. It was a great experience with Charlie chicken running around the building and people talking about and eating eggs. One of the questions that I always get at these kind of events is about the relationship between eggs and cholesterol. And I spoke my mind, eggs are an excellent source of cholesterol and we need cholesterol for multiple roles in the body. Besides, dietary cholesterol has little or no influence on total cholesterol. So, go ahead, get your eggs and enjoy all the benefits.
“An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” that is what people used to say in the old days, when apples were preserved during the winter time and were, for many, the only available source of Vitamin C during those harsh months. That saying still holds true today, since apples are a fantastic food package with all kinds of nutrients. However, the egg lover that I am, it is hard for me not to compare. I still think that I will be better off with an egg instead of an apple for breakfast.
Once again, Mother nature did not design the yolk to be orange in color to satisfy the need for a fantastic sponge cake or a beautiful plate of Alsacian pasta, huevos rancheros or a good old sunny side up fried egg in Texas. The yolk is orange in color because is full of carotenoids who are the main antioxidants in the yolk (altogether with the mighty Vitamin E) in the absence of Vitamin C. The egg yolk’s color is caused by the hen’s diet. If the feed consists mainly of wheat, barley or sorghum, the yolk will be mostly pale. A corn-based diet will produce a yellow yolk and supplementation with carotenoids from paprika or alfalfa meal will produce a golden yolk. Therefore, the yolk’s colour will reflect the amount of carotenoids present in the diet and has no direct relationship with the protein, vitamin, mineral or fatty acid content of the yolk. Clearly, the nutritive value of a pale yolk is the same as the one from a golden yolk.
The main function of eggs is not only to make your cake stand out and beat your cousin Henrietta’s, even though eggs are crucial for the success of your baking. Certainly, eggs were not made to cover blisters and heal wounds, even though my mother-in-law swears by that. Eggs were designed to provide a successful way to reproduce the species. Many species at that, even one famous mammal from Australia, the platypus.