The difference between brown and white eggs is... - by Stanley Hurwitz

June 21, 2019 - Front Section
Stanley Hurwitz

During grocery shopping, we’re confronted with thousands of marketing ploys and gimmicks designed to convince you to reach for this product instead of that. Many food makers use red graphics on packaging because red heightens nerve impulses and increases the heart rate. And did you know food companies pay “slotting” or “pay to display” fees so their products are displayed at eye level or on end caps – prime real estate in supermarkets, adding billions to the stores’ bottom line.

Eggs, however, are displayed on a lower level refrigerated case without much fanfare. No need for fancy signs or bright colors. Shoppers know where to find them. Most egg cartons are gray or beige with one large word, either brown or white. 

I’m not sure why the egg display recently caught my attention. We don’t use many eggs. We’re all confused: Are they healthy or not? In 2015, U.S. Dietary Guidelines changed their longstanding opinion and said cholesterol is okay. But a new study advises caution because a yolk contains 184 milligrams of cholesterol–as much as a double cheeseburger. The recommended daily intake of cholesterol is only 300 milligrams per day. Excessive egg consumption is associated with increased risk of heart disease.

Egg substitutes are made from egg whites which probably come from white eggs, especially if they’re made in the Midwest. Which brings us to the question: What egg-sactly is the difference between brown and white eggs? 

Research tells us there’s no nutritional difference. They all have 70 calories and 6 grams of protein. Both have the same shell thickness. The only difference: The brown egg’s yolk is darker. Younger chickens lay eggs with harder shells. 

People of a certain age will recall the jingle from the New England Brown Egg Council: “Brown eggs are local eggs… and local eggs are fresh.” Catchy and clever. But not so truthful. In the 18th century, Yankee traders brought from China to New England a new breed of chickens. These developed into Rhode Island and New Hampshire Reds. They were bigger birds and ate more than local breeds so, to cover extra expenses, for decades farmers tried to convince New Englanders to buy local (New England) eggs. And that explains why so many “local eggs” are brown! 

The difference between white and brown eggs is all in your head. In fact, an egg from 3,000 miles away can be brown, and an egg from five miles away can be white. Just proves that marketing and public relations are powerful forces.

For something to crow about and get the desired results from your PR/marketing, trust a creative, proven pro to produce compelling and honest messaging. Getting great PR for your business is nothing to “yolk” about.

 Stanley Hurwitz is principal of Creative Communications, Stoughton, Mass. 

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