Vegetarian Eggs Still Come From A Chicken. Here's The Catch.

Millions of people around the world follow a vegetarian diet for all sorts of beneficial reasons, whether for environmental causes, animal rights campaigns, or simply for a healthier lifestyle. And although there are tons of delicious vegetarian recipes out there for those who choose a meat-free diet, some might still long for the typical foods that meat-eaters enjoy regularly. As a result, many companies have created substitutes for vegetarian eaters, including everything from vegetarian beef jerky to vegetarian ... eggs?

Okay, vegetarian eggs might seem like something that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but maybe that depends on your definition of "vegetarian." Some people consider eggs to be vegetarian since no living beings need to be killed to produce them. Others would disagree, because eggs come from an animal and might be fertilized. Regardless, some companies have begun marketing their eggs as "vegetarian eggs." But what exactly do they mean by this? It turns out, vegetarian-fed eggs are simply eggs laid by hens that have only been fed vegetarian foods.

Vegetarian hens, not eggs

Perhaps a better term for "vegetarian eggs" would be "vegetarian-fed eggs" — in fact, some products are already labeled as such. Vegetarian-fed eggs are eggs laid by hens that have been fed only vegetarian meals. In other words, their feed contains only vegetables, and no bugs or other living creatures. So yes, your vegetarian eggs do still come from a hen, which may influence your decision whether to buy a dozen or not.

However, even vegetarian-fed eggs might not be the best option if you are aiming to eat fully organic but still want to hit your daily protein goals. Since chickens are naturally omnivorous, removing bugs from their diet can reduce much of their protein intake, forcing farmers to provide supplements to these vegetarian-fed chickens to produce the best quality eggs. Ultimately, if you want to make sure that your chickens are not fed animal products and are still raised organically, you might need to do a little research about your preferred product.

Other egg substitutes

Depending on where you live, vegetarian-fed eggs may cost more or less than regular eggs. Vegetarian-fed eggs can range in price from just over $3 for a dozen to almost $10. For comparison, one dozen Grade A eggs costs $2.09 on average as of July 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Vegetarian-fed eggs are not the only vegetarian or vegan alternative for eggs on the market. Since vegans don't consume any animal products whatsoever, some companies have created vegan substitutes for eggs such as JUST Egg, which offers plant-based "eggs" for scrambled eggs or baking. Other products, like the Orgran Vegan Easy Egg, are sold in a box and mixed with water and oil to make scrambled eggs.

Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or simply trying to be more conscious of animal welfare, there are many different products for you to choose from when craving eggs, with seemingly limitless options.