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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Don’t Be Influenced By Pretty-Looking Organic Egg Cartons

Whether you’re new to organic or have been eating it for decades, here is a very likely scenario when you go to buy eggs.

You stand in the refrigerated section of the market, look at all of options, check out the prices and make a decision largely based on the packaging of each brand.

Some have attractive pictures of rolling farmland, others show actual farmers, some have photos of the animals. Most certainly, the brands are using buzz words such as “cage-free”, “sunlit porches”, “omega 3-s” or “heritage breed”.

Are these brands being falsely deceptive?

I don’t believe so at all. They are trying to make the packaging as attractive as possible, and rightly so. I would do the exact same thing.

While brand recognition and price are key factors, what the packaging looks like and the emotional reaction that it has on you can heavily influence purchasing decisions.

As I have written about before, all organic eggs are NOT the same — all birds are fed differently and are treated differently — but people forget this and may get seduced by wholesome, folksy packaging.

So, I took a sampling of 8 different organic egg brands and pulled their ratings from the Cornucopia’s Organic Egg Scorecard to see how they stacked up versus the attractiveness of the packaging.

The Organic Egg Scorecard classifies each brand into one of five categories:

“5-Egg” Rating: “Exemplary” – Beyond organic

“4-Egg” Rating: “Excellent” – Organic promoting outdoor access

“3-Egg” Rating: “Good to Very Good” – Organic, complying with minimum USDA standards

“2-Egg” Rating: “Fair” – Some questions remain concerning compliance with organic standards

“1-Egg” Rating: “Industrial Organics” – No meaningful outdoor access and/or non-transparent

Here is what I found.

VITAL FARMS === 4-EGG RATING

 

OLIVER’S ORGANIC EGGS === 4-EGG RATING

 

ALDERFER EGGS === 3-EGG RATING

 

CAROL’S === 3-EGG RATING

 

PETE AND GERRY’S === 3-EGG RATING

 

THE COUNTRY HEN === 2-EGG RATING

 

ORGANIC VALLEY === 2-EGG RATING

 

WHOLE FOODS’ 365 === 1-EGG RATING

MY TAKE

Based on this small sampling, I have two key takeaways.

1) The eggs with the strongest brand recognition – Organic Valley and 365 (Whole Foods) – scored the worst.

2) Do not go to the supermarket and buy eggs based on what the packaging looks like and what the messaging says. Sometimes it will indicate high quality, but other times it will not. You just don’t know for sure.

For me, I am much more drawn to the packaging of The Country Hen (2-egg rating) and Carol’s (3-egg rating) than I am to the two top-scoring eggs, Vital Farms and Oliver’s Organic Eggs, both of which had 4-egg ratings.

While attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, my best suggestion is to use the Organic Egg Scorecard by the Cornucopia Institute, one of the most respected watchdog organizations in the organic food industry. These people have spent thousands of hours investigating and researching how brands treat and feed the birds, so you can get an informed idea about the quality of eggs you are putting into your body. Most importantly, you will eliminate the guesswork when going to the supermarket.

The Organic Egg Scorecard is part of Cornucopia’s incredibly important report called Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture.

In this report, Cornucopia highlights the disturbing conditions under which industrial organic egg producers are operating. Even though they are substituting conventional for organic feed and not using synthetic inputs, such as pesticides or antibiotics, some of these large-scale operators provide incredibly cramped, double-story conditions, limited access points to the outdoors, and covered concrete porches instead of adequate space on grass fields.

Just always remember, not all organic eggs are the same.

And more often than not, the packaging doesn’t tell the whole story, for better or for worse.

A message from Tradin Organic

Why Tradin Organic is Prioritizing Regenerative Organic Farming

At Tradin Organic, we believe that regenerative organic farming is key to growing healthy and nutritious food ingredients — for now and for future generations.

And in Sierra Leone, we have grown the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified cacao.

Learn more.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

My Latest Concoction – Organic Black Sesame Seed Milk

Earlier this year, I wrote a post talking about the tremendous health benefits of black sesame seeds.

I love putting them on quinoa, millet, and on my salads, and they add a whole new dimension to whatever food that I am eating.

Since Brazil nut milk and cashew milk are two drinks that I make quite often, I started asking myself “What if I made a milk out of organic black sesame seeds?”

My immediate thought was that the taste would be too harsh or too strong, and that I would need to use a lot of honey or organic palm sugar to even it out.

Over the past week or so, I have been experimenting with black sesame seed milk and much to my surprise, I have been thrilled with the results.

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A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

My Water Habits and The Only Water Bottle I Use – A Glass One

As I have written about many times before, I am a water fanatic. I like clean, ultra-purified water and have a four-stage filter (with a .015 micron filter on filter #2) in my apartment.

When I go to work, there is a Poland Spring cooler but I refuse to drink from it. Why?

The water tastes very, very off and is not purified.

So, I bring my own bottles of water to work each day. This may sound crazy to some people but drinking high quality water is essential to staying healthy.

Given that I take so much effort to drink good water, the type of bottle that I use is also of great importance.

I used to drink from a BPA-free plastic bottle. The problem with that is that it is still plastic and is leaching other chemicals into the water.

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Organic Insider

Better Choices

Study: Organic Tomatoes Contain More Antioxidants than Conventional Ones

In yet another study, we have more evidence that organic is a healthier choice.

A report out of the University of Barcelona claims that organic tomatoes have a higher amount of antioxidants than conventional tomatoes.

Researchers used liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry to determine that organic tomatoes have a greater amount of phenolic compounds or polyphenols. Polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants of plant origin, are associated with the prevention of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and some forms of cancer.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink