Colour of the egg yolks – what does it mean?

Colour of the egg yolks – what does it mean?

Often, people think that brown eggs (shell colour) are somehow more natural than white eggs. However, the truth is that all eggs are nutritionally very similar, regardless of size, grade or colour.

But what about the colour of the yolks? Does it affect the nutritional quality of the egg? Do you know?

Egg yolks range in colour from pale yellow to deep orange.
The colour of an eggโ€™s yolk depends solely upon the henโ€™s diet. The darker colour of a yolk signals the presence of carotenoids, which are natural pigments found in some plants.

The availability of carotenoid-rich plants for chickensโ€™ consumption affects the โ€œorangenessโ€ that you see in their eggโ€™s yolks.


1 Deep orange

In general, you want your yolk to be a dark and vibrant orange colour. These yolks are typically produced by pasture-raised hens whose diets consist of fresh grass, worms, and grasshoppers.
This diet is rich in carotenoids, which gives the yolks rich orange colour.


2 Mid-orange to golden yellow

Hen diets heavy in green plants, yellow corn, alfalfa and other plant material with xanthophylls pigment (a yellow-orange hue) will produce a darker yellow-orange yolk. This is the most common colour yolk we see in eggs available at the grocery store.


3 Light yellow

Those hens were likely fed a vegetarian diet consisting of corn and wheat.


4 Egg quality

Yolk colour has no relationship to egg quality, flavour, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness, according to The American Egg Board. The macronutrient composition of darker-coloured and lighter-coloured eggs is identical, however there may be some very minor differences in micronutrient concentrations like vitamin A and lutein.

While the nutritional value of the egg does not change significantly based on the colour of the yolk, it is a great indicator of the health of the mother hen.


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