Brown vs white eggs - is there a difference?

The colour of the egg shell is dependent on the breed of the hen. In general, white hens produce white eggs and brown hens brown eggs.

In many countries, such as the USA, white eggs are the predominant egg and up until the early 1970s, white eggs were popular in the UK. However, during the late 1970s the number of white eggs began to diminish as consumers expressed a preference for brown eggs. Until fairly recently the British industry has produced almost 100 per cent brown shelled eggs, but white eggs are starting to become more common again. There is no nutritional difference between white and brown shelled eggs.

All British Lion eggs, whether white or brown, are FSA approved to be eaten runny by vulnerable groups.

Why are some eggs brown and some white?

Brown and white egg

The answer is simple — the colour of the egg shell depends on the breed of the hen. Brown hens generally lay brown eggs while white hens lay white eggs, however there are specialist breeds that can lay other colours, such as blue.

Pigments produced by the hens determine the shell colour. The core pigment in brown egg shells is called protoporphyrin, which is made from heme, the compound that gives blood its red colour.

The principal pigment found in blue eggshells is called biliverdin, also made from heme. This is the same pigment that can give bruises a blue-green colour.

Egg shells may also vary in colour / shade among the same breed of hens due to genetic dominance among individual birds.

Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs?

There are no nutritional differences between brown or white eggs. Eggs are a natural, nutritionally dense food containing vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein, in less than 80 calories, whatever the colour.

Is there a protein difference between brown and white eggs?

There are no nutritional differences between brown or white eggs. On average, a medium-size egg contains around 6.4 grams of protein.

Do brown and white eggs taste different?

While some consumers may believe that brown or white eggs taste better, there is no difference from a scientific perspective.

Can you get white and brown British Lion eggs?

Both white and brown eggs can be produced to British Lion standards. Look for the red Lion mark on the shell for a guarantee that it’s a British Lion egg that has been produced to world-leading food safety standards.

Can white and brown eggs be eaten runny by vulnerable groups?

As long as the eggs have been produced to British Lion standards they are FSA approved to be enjoyed runny by vulnerable groups.

All British Lion eggs, white or brown, feature a red Lion mark on the shell.

See also

Egg facts and figures