Give the gift of nourishing and ethically raised food! SHOP OUR GIFT COLLECTION.

Is yolk color is no longer a great indicator of the egg's nutrition?

written by

Marie Reedell

posted on

September 22, 2023


It used to be true that, if your egg yolks were darker in color, then the better the egg's nutrition. Conscious consumers of the past would look for that deep orange yolk and stray away from lighter yellow yolks. It's sad, but this simply isn't the case anymore.

First, let's examine the past. 

Yolk color used to matter, because when birds were pasture raised, they ate a variety of foraged foods like grasses, seeds, and bugs. These foods naturally contained cartenoids (fat-soluble pigments) that made the yolks darker. 

These truly pastured eggs offered more nutrition (more vitamins, omega-3s, antioxidants, etc) because the birds were naturally healthier. They had access to fresh air and exercise. They didn't need drugs to survive. They ate a natural diet. They were allowed to be... well... chickens. The health of the bird has a direct impact on the nutrition of the egg. 

On the flip side, birds that lived indoors on mega factory-like "farms" ate a diet of mainly wheat, corn, soy. These foods are low in cartenoids, and therefore indoor chickens produced lighter colored yolks. Since they weren't as naturally healthy, the eggs were less nutritious.

But things have changes. Let's take a look at the present.

It's sad but true. Big ag has caught onto consumer demand for "organic" and "natural" foods. They are altering food and putting a "green sheen" on the visual appearance and the labels to capitalize on these trends.

When it comes to eggs, did you know that many mega egg producers now add colorants to their feed to make the yolks superficially orange? Here are some things that might be added:


This is why yolk color used to be a great indicator of egg quality and nutrition, but not anymore. You cannot trust cheap store-bought eggs with orange yolks. 

The only way to truly know the quality of your eggs is to know your farmer.

Not our farmers! No greenwashing here! Our two egg farmers who produce OUR CORN & SOY FREE EGGS never put colorants in their feed. 

And that means that the yolk color will vary with the seasons, the weather, the age of the flock, etc. Varying eggs are a sign that you're getting real deal, pasture raised, naturally healthy eggs! Personally, if my food doesn't have slight variation from time to time, then I question how natural it really is.

Here's how our chickens live. This picture is from Harmony Acres in Gap, PA.

More from the blog

Shopping for butter? Wondering what makes "the best" natural butter?

It's that time of year when you want to stock up on butter. The large amounts of cookies and pies that fill my house with delicious flavors is impending and inevitable. When it comes to butter and baking, quality matters. A lot. It affects the color, the texture, and the flavor of your baked goods. And, if you're a natural food shopper, there are some extra things to look for in your butter. I want to make sure I'm making food with the best nutrition and least toxins possible.

Tips on how to thaw, prep, and cook your pastured Thanksgiving turkey.

So, you have a beautiful pasture-raised soy and corn free turkey in your freezer. Now what? Here are some tips to help you answer important pre-Thanksgiving questions: When do I need to thaw my turkey? To brine or not to brine? What will I season the turkey with? Should I stuff the turkey? Will I do a regular roast or slow roast? When does it need to go in the oven?

The PUFA Predicament: A Look Into Healthy Fats

Let's take a look at what PUFAs are and Dr. Peat's research. We'll examine why PUFAs may cause negative health consequences and what those are, including inflammation, thyroid suppression, oxidative stress, and more. Finally, let's examine what foods are no-PUFA or low-PUFA. Good news! ALL of Miller's products fall into one of those categories.