free range / factory farmed meat and eggs. can YOU tell the difference?

@Galena (9120)
May 9, 2007 9:18am CST
I can. free range meat and eggs has a lot more flavour and are well worth the extra cost before you even think of the etical side of it. free range eggs have beautiful golden yolks, and you quite often get double yolkers. and the flavour is just unbeatable. sometimes the food given to chickens can have a real effect on the flavour of the egg. some of the feeds used in concentration camp battery farms can make the egg taste sort of fishy. as for meat, free range is juicier. no dry turkey sarnies on boxind day with a free range bird. the muscle is a better texture and there's such a huge depth of flavour you don't get with factory farmed meat. I know free range meat is still significantly more expensive that factory farmed, but you get so much more enjoyment from it, and on a clean conscience too. but even if free range meat is just a bit too much (although if you're worried about it, lamb is usually produced more free range, as it's actually cheaper and easier than raising them cooped up), can you really say that the few pence saved buying battery eggs - eggs from caged hens, is worth it when proper eggs taste so much better and are vastly more humane?
3 people like this
16 responses
@rainbow (6763)
9 May 07
I do'nt buy chicken produts from the supermarket, especially since I had the horror of allowing my kids turkey dinosaurs. My eggs are free range from the farm down the road and my chicken and other meat comes from the village butcher,whe gets the best meat she can, I know it's ok as she's my friends big sister. The difference in quality from the supermarket meat is as you say extraorinary and well worth the extra effort. We seem to be eating more fish lately too and I try to get good quality salmon, some of the cheaper ones are intense farmed nearly as badly as chickens, and have dyes added to give them a good colour. My other fish the man delivers from the docks in a van, expensive but tastey.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9120)
10 May 07
I used to think I was allergic to salmon. I thought that was odd, as I'm fine with every other fish I've eaten. then I decided it's probably the dye. I can't eat it anymore though, as the smell makes me feel ill after how ill I was last time I ate it (I was sick, then passed out on the bathroom floor for several hours)
1 person likes this
@rainbow (6763)
12 May 07
I'm not suprised you don't want to eat it, that's a serious reaction! Cod and haddock make me itch until they're cooked which was difficult when I worked in a chip shop years ago, lol. Crab makes my lips itch sometimes too, I know within a couple of tastes so then my boys are not allowed it, I think it depends on where they came from. Do other pink or red foods affect you? Could be worth mentioning to your GP for some allergy tests to save a repeat.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9120)
13 May 07
I've not had any problems since. someone mentioned I should be careful with eggs, as they feed the chickens dye to change the colour. but I've not had a problem, so maybe it's just the battery ones, which tend not to have lovely yellow yolks naturally. and I'm fine with smoked haddock which is often dyed too. I suppose there could have been a particular supplier that used more of that dye, but I can't even smell salmon without feeling a bit ill now, even though I suspect I could probably eat it with no problems if I tried. I think they've clamped down on levels of this chemical in food. someone told me what it was called, but I forgot.
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12836)
• Australia
10 May 07
honestly, i try to buy the cholesterol-free free range eggs before which cost me 3 and a half times the price of the ordinary farm eggs and i can really feel the difference... also, with organic and free-range meats, there is definitely be a difference between them and factory meats... the problem is they just cost too much and i can't afford to buy them all the time as i am living on a tight budget... i know that they are more humane and healthier as well... but the price sometimes is just ridiculous... may be something can be done about the price so that we can afford to buy them all the time...
1 person likes this
@Galena (9120)
10 May 07
the more people buy it, the cheaper it will get. that's what happened with free range eggs. when they were first widely availiable only a few people chose them over battery eggs, and the price difference was greater. the more people chose them, the more profitable they were to produce and the price came down. as the price came down more people chose them over battery eggs. it's a circle. free range meat will never be as cheap as factory farmed, BUT is shouldn't be POSSIBLE to raise, feed, slaughter, package and transport a chicken, to pay for it's whole life, and make a profit for a couple of quid. if they can sell it for a few quid and still make a profit then there's something very wrong there. if everyone makes a little effort even to just occasionally by more ethical meat it will become more economical, and more people will be able to afford it. it will make a big difference.
• Austria
10 May 07
the more people buy free range the worse even free range chickens are treated. I read a report which stated that nowadays even free range chickens have their beaks melted off, and while they have more room to run around, it's still not enough. the report made me very angry because for years I've bought free range for so much more money and really it didn't mean anything. I think these days you have to know a farmer down the road otherwise you can't be sure that the eggs you're buying are from happy chickens. There's a place here, they have 40.000 chickens in one building and 1/2 are considered free range, I hear that some days they are allowed to go outside, but I've never seen them outside.
@Galena (9120)
10 May 07
still better than a tiny crate though. we always get ours from people drveway stalls or when a neighbour brings us some from their chickas. can't get much more local than the chicks you hear from your own garden. but still, I'd always buy free range if I needed to get them from a shop. there tends to be a 3 teir system in the UK. battery hens, barn eggs, which isn't the cages, but can still be really overcrowded, and free range. most of the problems you mention would tend to crop up in the barn egg industry.
@hezoid (2147)
9 May 07
Well, lets start with the eggs, becuase i do tend to buy free range eggs even though in general i hardly buy any free range or organic food stuffs. I think the quality is better, you can tell just by the size, shape and colour of the eggs (ie in their shells) that they are. I also do think they taste better. I used to buy the really cheapo Asdas eggs, you know the sort, the ones with Smartprice all over them. Out of interest i tried the nice free range ones, which to be hoenst weren't that much dearer than the normal priced asda non-free range ones. There is a fair bit of difference, and i liked them better, so i stuck buying free-range. As for meat, i buy mine from the butchers, not supermarekets. I think free range and/or organic meat would no doubt taste better than factory farmer supermarket meat becuase i think that stuff is very pore quality, isn't always the freshest, and is packaged with so much added water and preservatives that you're never going to get any real quality from it! The meat i get from the butchers is delicious. I don't know if it's free range or what, maybe i should ask next time i go in. All i know is that it's cheaper and better quality than supermarket stuff.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9120)
10 May 07
meat from the butchers is usually much much better quality than supermarket. and they can usually tell you all kinds of things about where each batch of meat comes from. it's much less likely to be badly farmed, and it's usually more economical than supermarket meat, especially if you have a lot of freezer space.
@cripfemme (7713)
• United States
22 Jul 11
I can't really taste the difference, but I o like knowing the animal had happy life before it was slaughtered. Running around, being happy. I'm kind of Bhuddist in that reguard. I think we should respect all life in that way. If I had my way, every livestock would be organic and grassfed, and have a good life.
@nonew3 (1941)
• United States
10 May 07
I eat organic stuff that is also free-range, and believe me, I CAN taste a difference! It all tastes so much better! And, I know that the animals were treated RIGHT! It costs a bit more, but it is so worth it!
1 person likes this
@glamgrl (384)
• Ireland
10 May 07
yes,DEFINITELY
1 person likes this
@Inky261 (2524)
• Germany
10 May 07
I taste the difference, especially in porc and beef. What goes in must come out. So if animals are fed outside what they really like to eat the meat tastes better. The meat is leaner, too as the animals exercise more. For beef: A cow that is indoors just moves the jaws. A cow that is kept outdoors moves every muscle. There is a big difference in meat quality.
1 person likes this
@Mickie30 (2631)
9 May 07
I think it is better to eat free range eggs because not only are they better for the environment they are also more tasty and nice. Duck eggs are also very nice and great for baking.
1 person likes this
@angelicEmu (1311)
9 May 07
I'm with you 100% on that Galena! Free-range, and especially organic free-range foods have a hugely better flavour and texture than their battery and non-organic counterparts. The same goes for the difference between organic and non-organic veggies and other foodstuffs. When I first tried organic meat, it was like waking up after a long sleep - so THAT'S what they're supposed to taste like! I'd thought that the change in flavour and textures of food from when I was a child to nowadays, had been a romanticised, subjective foody memory, not that it had actually been that good! But it does still exist - it's just that nowadays they charge you extra (quite a bit extra on the meat) and call it organic. In my opinion, farmers in this country should go back to traditional farming methods across the board, GM crops should be outlawed, battery hens (and I've always been against battery methods for ethical reasons too) freed, and then we should keep our noses out of monkeying with nature, and work with it, not trying to replace it. What's the point in producing the kind of genetically modified, high-yield rubbish which is bound to be contributing to people's failing health, which is sold as standard, when we make too much of it, and end up with mountains of waste. The whole system's messed up. If it were up to me, we'd all buy everything directly from the farmers, who would get a better price than they do now, the customers would get their products cheaper and fresher without all the wasteful packaging, and we'd do away with the Supermarkets entirely! But it's not up to me, so I'll just keep buying as much organic and free-range produce as I can, and encourage others to do the same.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44031)
• United States
9 May 07
Well since I live in an urban environment, free range meat doesn't exist here...we get the meats shipped from god knows where---My supermarkets near me though do have the organic free range eggs though--and cost a heck of a lot more--and I did get them..You'll laugh..they tasted funny to me...but then I'm perhaps not used to the REAL taste of eggs...LOL--oh every once in awhile I do get the double yolk deal--my great-grandmother said that was good luck! Yes I'm all for getting meats that are free range..but how can one do that if one lives in an urban area like I do?? It would definitely put my conscience at ease as I'm all too familiar with farm factory animals and how they are treated
@Galena (9120)
10 May 07
a good bet if you're worried about the farming practices but don't have much access to free range is to go for lamb. lamb doesn't thrive when it's factory farmed. it's actually much cheaper and easier to farm it free range and grass fed than cooped up and given large amounts of animal feed. so most lamb is not factory farmed. in cities you can still get free range/organic (I put the free range first in importance) meat and eggs. some supermarkets aren't great but there should be some places you can get it. a lot of cities have occasional farmers markets too, which are brilliant opportunities (plus you get to try nearly everything) if you can find a butchers shop (these aren't as common as they used to be but there should be some somewhere) then you can ask them about their sources and ask them to get what you want in. and write to the supermarkets if they don't do what you want. it might not make a huge difference, but if they think they're missing a gap in the market then they may start stocking more. but in a butchers there will be less of a price difference.
@pyewacket (44031)
• United States
10 May 07
I haven't gotten lamb in a long, long time though I do love it..it's far too expensive for my budget nowadays..there are a few butchers that probably do have free range meats, but don't take food stamps of which I'm getting..that's the main problem...There's one supermarket that's great for vegetarian type foods..but are still limited..a friend told me about this great health food store that's fantastic for a more vegan kind of diet..but same thing doesn't take food stamps...Alas....I unfortunately have to go to the regular supermarkets or wherever they take food stamps
@Galena (9120)
11 May 07
what a bummer.
@ElicBxn (61063)
• United States
9 May 07
Must be nice to live where you can find these things. My ex-roomie used to talk about her grandmother's eggs from the farm & how much better they were - I'm a city girl & the only way I can get eggs is in the store. I can't cotton driving the miles out of my way to the farmer's market & I'm not sure if they have eggs there anyway.
@Galena (9120)
10 May 07
in England most shops sell both. if they don't, pester them until they do. they don't have to be direct from the farm, although if you can find someone with chickens you can usually get the eggs cheaper than in a shop. not so common in rural areas, but some people in cities will use a garden to keep a few hens.
@ElicBxn (61063)
• United States
10 May 07
It is supposed to be illegal to have farm animals in the city limits in Austin. Somehow they've managed to get the potbellied pigs around it. One of our hispanic neighbors had a roster running around for a while, but I guess they either moved or it went in the pot.
@okn0tok (569)
• United States
9 May 07
I buy Kosher products. Im not sure which are free range or not... never thought about it.
• United States
9 May 07
If the kosher products you purchased were free range, I'm sure you'd probably know. The only thing that makes meat and poultry kosher is how the animal is killed, by whom, and how their carcasses are treated postmortem. Kosher meat is a step in the right direction in terms of animal kindness, and free-range is a step on the same path that doesn't necessarily need to be taken at the same time. Either way, you're doing something right for the critters.
@iw1000 (13)
28 Jun 12
I usually get eggs from the supermarket since I don't have access to free range products, i have had free range meat in the past and I agree with you about it has more flavour, sadly I don't live near of a farm, so I can't buy free range meat, however I have been thinking about getting a small land to grow my own chikens so I can have fresh eggs everyday.
@Orson_Kart (4520)
• United Kingdom
31 Dec 11
I see you really do know what you are talking about on the egg front. I think battery farming is being (or has been) phased out, so I am sure you are happy about that. Me too!
• Austria
9 May 07
everyone says they taste different but I can't tell. I also can't tell the difference between regular and decaff. I think if you buy raw meat and just bbq it maybe you can tell. But usually I used to cook meat in stuff and it was covered in sauce or in a stew of whatever so I couldn't tell. Eggs I can tell the difference between fresh eggs and older eggs only. Fresh eggs are much tastier. It's not an issue for me anymore, I'm vegan now. I don't go near any of it anymore.
@vanities (11410)
• Davao, Philippines
9 May 07
WEll you have enumerated all the facts here, actually i cant find any difference on the taste of the eggs in our place, maybe im not just so keen on the taste of it that i thought it got the same one..