Private-label, or store-brand, eggs rated with one egg are sold by grocers or
distributors who have the obvious desire of wanting to grow their presence in the
organic marketplace. Unfortunately, there is an inherent limitation in private-label
organic products: organic consumers tend to want to know where their food is
coming from and how it is produced, and private-label products are anonymous by
their very nature.
Our research indicates that the vast majority of organic eggs for private label brands
are produced on industrial farms that house hundreds of thousands of birds and do
not grant the birds meaningful outdoor access.
If these grocery chains want to truly express a commitment to organics, and
communicate this tangibly to their customer base, we would encourage them to
specify on their label which egg producers and cooperatives they are "partnering
with" and to fully participate, transparently, in The Cornucopia Institute research
study and scorecard. This will give consumers valuable information to judge their
ethical approach and simultaneously afford farmers more marketplace security, as it
will make it much more difficult to change suppliers quickly for a few cents per
So the bottom-line for private-label organic products, whether eggs or any other
commodity, is "buyer beware." We encourage consumers to be vigilant and contact
stores to confirm who is supplying their private-label eggs or to just pay an extra
quarter or two for name-brand eggs from farmers and brands that are willing to be
open with them and who share their values.