Amongst many of the common food debates, the question, “Are eggs considered dairy?” is still heavily debated. As far as we know, stores and restaurants have grouped eggs and dairy wholesale together. So for many, eggs are a dairy product–plain and simple. However, for many others, the answer isn't so simple.
Those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products find it especially important to distinguish whether eggs are dairy or not. In this article, we'll provide an answer to the question, “Are eggs considered dairy?” In addition, we'll provide you with some of the best dairy wholesale providers out there in your niche market.
Are Eggs Protein or Dairy?
Before you can answer, "Are eggs considered dairy?" you must first understand the definition of dairy. Dairy includes any food product made from milk. This includes cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. In addition, dairy products mainly come from livestock animals such as cows, goats, and even sheep.
Any byproducts of those goods are also considered a dairy product. Therefore, because eggs do not come from milk, they are not dairy products. Instead, eggs come from birds like hens or ducks–who do not produce milk.
That said, it's easy to see why eggs are often grouped in with dairy products. In most grocery stores you'll find eggs in the dairy aisle next to milk products. However, this doesn't mean they're one and the same.
Still, eggs do have some things in common with dairy. This includes the fact that they are an animal byproduct and they're a good source of protein. More than this, both dairy products and eggs tend to be amongst the highest foods that result in food allergies for our population.
If you're looking to sell online, or become a produce wholesaler, it’s good practice to ensure your customers understand the difference. This is especially true if you're catering to specific demographics like vegetarians, vegans, or those with dairy allergies. These groups will look for labels that say “dairy free,” or “vegan” when shopping.
So it’s important that your products advertise this. Not only for their sake, but because it can become a legal issue if someone with an allergy to dairy consumes a product without a dairy label on it.
It's easier to tell dairy products apart when they're sold separately. For instance, milk or eggs sold in individual cartons. However, let's say you're selling cookies online, or any other dessert, you'll need to advertise any dairy ingredients that are included.
All that said, the bottom line is this: though eggs and dairy products have similarities in where they're stored, they are not the same. Dairy products come from milk, whereas eggs come from birds. This should provide an answer to any future debates!
Where Can I Find Quality Eggs?
Brown, white, jumbo, cage-free, and organic: all terms used to describe eggs in a grocery store. Generally, the cheapest eggs sell for about $1.50, while more expensive eggs start at $8. This wide range in price is a result of the wide range in eggs available to purchase. Not all eggs are treated equally. As such, the prices will vary.
You might also notice the price range change depending on where you shop for your eggs. Stores like Walmart generally charge on the lower end of the spectrum. Whereas stores like Whole Foods or Target charge closer to the higher end of the range. Pay attention to where you’re shopping if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money on eggs!
You might ask yourself, “Is a brown egg better than a white egg?”or, “Does a higher price equal better quality?” Not many people care about the kinds of eggs they buy. Unless of course, you own a restaurant, bakery, or are dairy farming yourself–where quality matters.
Either way, you still want to know that what you're paying for is good quality. So, how do you know? Let's start by breaking down what some of the most common labels mean.
Vegetarian-fed hens are hens that eat a vegetarian diet composed mainly of grains and seeds. However, animals are not humans and in nature, chickens are omnivores. Meaning just because you feed them grains and seeds, that doesn't mean that's all they're eating. Chickens are known to eat worms, crickets, and other insects from the ground.
More than this, unnatural diets like these actually lead to adverse effects in many cases. Some farmers have described cases of cannibalism in their chickens when fed a vegetarian diet. So, what you see is not always what you get. The same farmers noted that the cannibalism only stopped once the chickens ate meat.
Free-Range, Cage-Free, Pastured
These are three of the most commonly picked egg types because the names are indicative of a better life for the chickens. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true.
Cage-free simply means that the chickens are not kept in cages, often referred to as battery cages. A battery cage is a cage composed of wire cells and dividers separating chickens from one another.
Cage-free chickens do not live in battery cages. Instead, they're housed in facilities with hundreds of other chickens. Due to this, their quality of life is still not all that great. Because of the cramped nature of these facilities, diseases spread easier and chickens tend to peck each other.
Free-range eggs are a much better option. Free-range chickens have access to the outdoors and can come and go as they please. While some free-range chickens live on a wide-open range with green grass, other free-range chickens only have access to a small section of outdoor space. The conditions range from farm to farm.
Finally, there are pastured chickens. This is your safest option if you're looking for chickens that have the best quality of life. Pastured chickens tend to live on large farms and have a diet consisting of seeds and insects. Therefore, the taste and nutrition quality of the eggs is usually much better.
Lastly, when contemplating, "Are eggs considered dairy?" there are organic eggs. By definition, the term organic refers to produce that is produced without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or similar chemical agents. The USDA heavily regulates any food item with the label “organic.” Therefore, you know that it is the best of the best. Not all food items can haphazardly showcase an organic label. There are certain features that organic foods must have in order to be considered organic.
Everything from the way the animal providing the produce was raised, to hormones, and meals is taken into consideration. Even organic fruits are heavily regulated. They have to have grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or bioengineered seeds to be organic fruit.
Organic eggs have to come from free-range chickens with 100% organic feed (no antibiotics, no hormones, and no slaughter byproducts). Buying organic eggs is the best way to know that you get a quality egg.
Overall, the best eggs you can buy are organic eggs with a USDA or animal welfare stamp. If you pay a bit more than usual, you know that it's a better quality egg.
What Are the Best Dairy Egg Distributors?
As an everyday customer, following the above guidelines will help you find good quality eggs. However, as a restaurant owner, you may be wondering “How do I find wholesale suppliers?” Normally, you’re not going to buy directly from the store. Not only is it inefficient, but it’s also more expensive than buying from a wholesaler or supplier directly.
Wholesale suppliers often charge reduced rates from products bought in bulk. More than this, you have more options that meet your needs since you can choose who to buy from directly. Not all grocery stores offer a variety of egg products that’ll meet your needs.
We understand that providing quality products is the most important factor for you as a restaurant owner. So, we've taken it upon ourselves to do some research. Below you'll find some of the companies we believe are the best wholesale egg distributors out there.
MPS Egg Farms
MPS Egg Farms is one of the largest shelled egg producers in the United States. MPS started back in 1875, with founder Daniel Strauss. At first, the only thing on the farm was a water-powered grain mill which supplied food for the animals. However, as the needs of the town grew, so did the farm.
The company originally sought to meet small-town demand levels; however, as needs changed so did the business. MPS Egg Farms now sell dairy and other high demand products from eggs to coal, ice, and even animal feed. All of these products are sold in-house for community members that live close to the farm.
Overall, the goal at MPS is to raise hens in a healthy and stable environment. This way, consumers know they're getting the absolute best. Though the business grew, their practices did not stray. With over 300,000 chickens at the time, each chicken was allowed to roam free instead of being cooped up in a cage.
In addition, MPS strives to be the most efficient egg farm there is. They have over 11 million hens that produce about 9 million eggs per year. This equates to over 24 truckloads of eggs getting distributed every day. It is through a rigorous set of safety standards and efficient production practices that allow MPS to reach distributors across the country.
You'll be happy to know that MPS merchandise inventory includes:
White and brown shell eggs
- Cage-free eggs
- California compliant eggs
- Nutritionally enriched eggs
- Eggs with large amounts of omega 3s
- Customized nutrition programs for select distributors
Sunrise Farms is a family-owned farm located in Stuarts Draft, VA. The Miller family, namely Maynard and Shirley Miller, purchased this 90-acre farm back in 2003. Their goal is to provide the best non-GMO organic products.
Sunrise Farms is able to do this by sourcing their non-GMO grains from local suppliers they trust. These suppliers have constantly demonstrated a commitment to Sunrise Farms shared values. With the goal of growing awareness around pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, and soil erosion, they continue to work with team alike who know what it takes to run a farm like they do.
Ethical farming practices are at the heart of everything this family does on the farm. Therefore, buyers can trust that they're getting products true to the label. Family values and hard work are also important to the Miller family.
As such, everyone uses a hands-on approach and is equally active in the success of the farm. They do this in many ways, from providing animals with excellent care to extending that same care to customers. More importantly, Sunrise Farms uses conservative approaches when it comes to farming. Doing so allows them to provide a competitive wholesale price to their customers.
Sunrise Farms also provides fresh, non-GMO feed, eggs, and all-natural meat to customers on the East Coast. If you thought that it wasn't possible to ship dairy, think again! Now, they also offer bulk shipping across the U.S. and remain true to the values they first got started with. If you'd like to learn about their current specials or to view a full list of products they offer please visit their website.
Frequently Asked Questions About Are Eggs Considered Dairy
What Food Groups Are Eggs In?
Eggs belong to the protein food group. Seafood, meat, poultry, and beans are other common foods belonging to the protein food group.
Are Eggs Considered Poultry or Dairy?
Eggs are neither a dairy nor a poultry product. Eggs are simply classified as animal products. While eggs do come from chicken, and chicken is poultry, the egg itself is not poultry. The same goes for dairy, even though eggs are commonly found in the dairy aisle.
Does A Dairy-Free Diet Mean I Can't Eat Eggs?
A dairy-free diet excludes any dairy products including conventional milk, cheese, cream, and any dairy byproduct. Eggs are not dairy wholesale products, so you can eat eggs if you are dairy-free.