There are pre-dominantly three egg-yolk colors. See image below:
Image source: Can You Tell a Healthy Chicken from the Egg Yolk Color?
Hens lay eggs and the product [eggs] is as healthy as it’s source [hens!]
If hens are pasture-raised—which means they are allowed to graze on the green pastures throughout the day, where they eat insects, worms, grass and even weed which is their natural diet then the yolk-color will be dark orange (the one on the extreme left).
The orange color is due to the compound called: Carotenoids.
Carotenoids are anti-oxidants and this compound gives the egg-yolk the orange color. This class of nutrient is found mainly in the pasture feeds.
On the other extreme, when hens are caged, free-range, cage-free (See chart below), basically they spend very little time out in the pastures eating their nature diet i.e. insects and worms.
In this case, hens mostly eat a commercial feed of soy and corn! And the color of yolk from these hens will be pale- yellow!
Because it’s way cheaper to stock up a lot of hens in cages, and even cage-free does not require a significantly large portion of land, these eggs are cheaper!
Image source: Learn What Cage-Free Eggs Means and What It Doesn’t
Bottomline, Egg yolk color is widely regarded as a good indicator of an egg’s health.
And I strongly recommend that you should stick with the color on the extreme right-orange color.
Dark orange colour however is very tough to get. They are super-expensive plus their availability is very limited.
One such brand I consumed for about a year was:
Best eggs in United States according to Organic Egg Scorecard – The Cornucopia Institute
Few side notes:
Because people are willing to pay a premium for orange yolks, companies have started to add synthetics, and other coloring-agents in the feeds of hen so that the color of yolk comes out to be orange!
A Full-Proof Method to procure a superior egg is to just look at the label..
As you can see in the picture above —the keyword on Stueve Organic eggs is—
Pasture raised eggs are also nutritional superior than cage-free/free-range eggs and should be preferred.
In one egg-testing project by Mother Earth News in 2007, it was concluded that pasture-raised hens contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
2- What about the shell of an egg? Is brown egg superior than a white egg?
This just depends on the breed of hens. Hens that lay brown eggs are larger in size and they need to be fed more and therefore you will find brown eggs to be more expensive then white eggs!
If you are worried whether you should have the egg yolk in the first place, read this article:
A common concern is that eating egg yolk raises cholesterol. I have busted this myth in this article:
Ideal Choice: Pasture-Raised Eggs. And you’ll find these words written on the box that the eggs come in.
-In most cases, the yolk you’ll get from these eggs will be orange, could be dark orange too!
-Very slim chances of golden-yellow or bright yellow colored but NEVER Pale-Yellow.
Also, the yolk from pasture-raised hens will be firm, intact and never runny…..
If hens are pasture-raised then the feed will most probably be organic, non-Gmo and also free from herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and antibiotics. Although, you cannot assume this and this fact should be mentioned on their box and/or on their website.
Secondary Choice: For most people availability and budget (pasture-raised eggs are expensive) can be an issue. Then opt for:
Organic, Non-Gmo and also free from herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and antibiotics.
Free-Range: Hens that are allowed some time in pastures but the area is small and limited. The color of the yolk from free-range even cage-free maybe bright-yellow or even orange. It’s very very tough to know if the company is adding coloring-agents to produce orange-yolk or mixing