A new survey shows egg carton labels are confusing organic consumers. They don't really know the difference between "pasture-raised" eggs and the “free-range” and “cage-free” kind but a pasture-raised company is banking on the fact that if people do know, they will spend more on their eggs.
Almost anything can be free-range, for example. If a chicken can poke their head through a hole, well, that's free range. And cage free can still be jammed in tighter than a United Airlines cross-country flight, it just can't be in a cage.
A survey conducted by pasture-raised egg company Vital Farms on QuickTake.com in May 2014 sampled opinions of nearly 670 Americans, ages 21-54, and found that no one really knows the difference. Hypothesis: they just know it must be better because they have been educated by advertising. What difference would it make if they did know? The definitions are arbitrary. 50 percent of respondents look for the free-range label while 48 percent look for cage-free and 47 percent look for organic. Does that add up to 145 percent to you? You are not an ethical egg shopper if you ask those kinds of questions but I assume they can all have multiple labels, sort of like how boxing can have one champion for three federations across four weight classes.
Only 24 percent sought out a pasture-raised label and I confess I had never heard of it before the company contacted me with their survey results. But, they note, when asked to describe “free-range” and “cage-free,” people taking the survey actually described pasture-raised eggs. 62 percent thought ir was chickens roaming free.
Not so. Pasture-raised hens, the company says, are each given 108 square feet of outdoor space to frolic in and and have unlimited daytime access to sunlight and grass. They call it a 'salad and exercise' regimen.
You know what we call those chickens in this part of California? Hawk bait. Those critters would be gone in a week unless there is wire overhead, in which case they are not really cage free. Chicken coops were not created to mass produce eggs, they were created to prevent dead chickens.
Outside the somewhat meaningless "organic" designation, eggs have no standard label nomenclature, thus the reason for this corporate maneuvering and competition for dollars. If eggs actually did require accurate labels, free-range, cage-free and pasture-raised would all be identical. They would look like this:
What? Chemicals? But range-free eggs have no chemicals! Sure, if counting organic sheep that way helps you sleep, but science reality has proven differently. Credit and link: James Kennedy
But egg farmers don't want real labels, they just want to obtain a competitive advantage among the wealthy elites who shop at Whole Foods. Scientifically, a new label is just a Sneetch with more stars:
We're better because we paid to have a special label. Credit: Random House.
I predict a bright future for this movement. If Chobani can become a billion-dollar company bragging that there is no scientific reason to buy their overpriced yogurt, why not market more ethical chickens? And the focus on wealthy elites at Whole Foods is smart because they clearly have money and don't care about evidence or data.
But for the majority of the population, the most important label rightfully remains this one:
Credit and link: Capital Press
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Anomaly! Book Of The Week At Times Higher Education
- Random Thoughts Of A Physicist In Honeymoon
- It's Been Another Record Year For Agriculture - When Do Climate Change Forecasts Come True?
- Sitting Linked To Premature Aging - And Hopefully Skepticism
- Climate Change Made The Sahara Green - Then Took It Away Again
- How Wind Turbines Work - A Legal Perspective
- How Viruses Leave Messages For Descendants On How To 'Infect'
- "I don't know why my comment's formatting was lost in the transmission, so that it is now one big..."
- "“If you don't use probabilities then how else do you do it? At any rate that's not a criticism..."
- "Tomasso, Congratulations, may you enjoy a long and happy life together with Kalliopi! Best regards..."
- "Found another one : http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/545975/end-of-the-world-Gods-vengeance..."
- "Thanks :). Actually there are so many fake doomsday red top tabloid stories that I tend to wait..."
- Doubt Cast Over Sunscreen-Vs.-Shade Study
- ABCD: Obesity Has A New Name, Will It Stop The Epidemic?
- President George H. W. Bush in ICU, Wife Barbara in Same Hospital
- Media Think World of Science and Health Will End on Inauguration Day 2017
- And Then There Were Three: A New Trivalent Herpes Vaccine Enters The Scene
- Timeline of New Year's Resolutions