Röstigraben’s curious news from the farm: In German-speaking Switzerland, white eggs are better than brown eggs, and vice versa in French-speaking Switzerland. Farmers are helpless.
The basics in brief
- Röstigraben can be noted in demand for eggs.
- German-speaking Swiss prefer white eggs, and French-speaking Swiss brown eggs.
- No matter the color – nothing is thrown away, the farmer assures.
Easter is almost here – it’s time to dye and dip the eggs. Strange: In German-speaking Switzerland, brown eggs fare worse than white eggs, as noted by the Swiss Farmers Association. And not just for Easter.
“It’s a cultural difference,” spokeswoman Sandra Helfenstein told Nau.ch. Because in French-speaking Switzerland, it’s quite the opposite—customers are jumping at the brown eggs.
The preference for white eggs before Easter is particularly clear: “This is because white eggs are more suitable for colouring.”
The color of the eggs ‘doesn’t matter at all’
“Swiss chickens currently lay 70 percent white eggs and 30 percent brown eggs,” explains Helfenstein.
This has to do with the color of the so-called chicken ear disc, that is, the tongue of the skin under the ears. “Hens with white earlobes lay white eggs, and chickens with red earlobes lay brown eggs.”
The Farmers’ Association cannot explain the German-Swiss preference for white eggs more accurately. But the spokeswoman says: “In terms of type of production, quality or ingredients, the color of the eggs plays absolutely no role.”
Anyone who buys brown eggs ‘can’t expect eggs at Easter’
This phenomenon is also a mystery to Zurich growers. However, different egg preferences are not a problem, laying hens farmer Mark Peter told Nau.ch. “Consumers have the right to choose.”
But: “Consistent action is desirable. If someone cares for brown eggs all year round, they cannot expect white eggs at Easter.” In addition, it is difficult for hens to lay more eggs at Christmas and Easter than in summer.
Do you pay attention to the color of eggs when you go shopping?
Yes, I prefer white eggs.
I prefer to buy brown eggs.
Incidentally, white eggs are not received better everywhere in German-speaking Switzerland. Peter reports that brown eggs are more popular in Zurich’s farm shops.
In Lucerne too, it is well known that Italian customers prefer brown eggs. Raphael Henie of the Cantonese Farmers’ Association also reported on an egg producer who kept a new breed of chicken with cream-coloured eggs. “It’s not well received because it’s probably not the typical egg color.”
But regardless of whether they are brown or white, farmer Peter assures: “Proper eggs are never thrown away. If there are seasonal surpluses, they are stirred and used as liquid eggs in food production.”
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