When it comes to purchasing eggs, consumers have interests that go well beyond what they see in the carton. For many buyers, where that egg came from and how it was produced are just as important as the finished product. Organic, locally produced, cage-free, and free range are just a few of the marketing claims consumers will find on the carton, as producers try to communicate the attributes of their product. To provide additional assurance to their customers of the validity of marketing claims, shell egg producers often enlist the services of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
In recent months, a long list of large volume food buyers – including restaurants, grocers, distributors and more – have announced they will transition to sourcing eggs and egg products only from cage-free production systems. You can learn more about this trend in a recent USDA Blog post. Many shell egg suppliers have already found a way to assure customers that products marketed as cage-free are indeed sourced from such systems: when USDA Graded eggs are also identified as cage-free, they must undergo a review process to verify the claim is truthful.