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Egg Protein: Comparing Whole Egg and Egg White Protein Content and cost to Beans and Meat

  • 2 min read

Eggs are seasonal in price, supply, and demand. Think about Easter, around 61,000,000 dozen or 732,000,000 individual eggs are sold for the Holiday!

The most popular size of an egg is large. The most common package in the United States is 12 large eggs in a carton and the eggs weigh 24 ounces. That’s an average of 2 ounces per egg. At the USDA National Nutrient Database site, it mentions that the shell can weigh on average about 12% of the 2 ounces. They compute the edible portion of the egg weighs about 50 grams or 1.766 ounces. For weights and measures, the eggs must weigh 24 ounces minimum, so it is always possible your eggs will weigh more.

The price fluctuates more than most other protein rich foods. In 2015, I’ve seen a dozen large eggs for as little as $0.69 and as much as $3.69 per dozen.

So how does the price of an egg compare to the price of other protein sources? Let’s use the price at the Jay C Plus Grocery store as of 8/28/2015, in Bedford, IN. There is a download of the Nutrient data from the USDA available at this link. I used their calculator to calculate the nutrition for close to 50 grams of Whole Large Eggs, Egg Whites, Tuna, Canned Navy Beans, Peanut Butter, Chicken, and Ground Beef. Please remember that might not be a common amount that you eat. It would be equivalent to a little more than 3 Tablespoons.

8/28/15 prices for (all amounts rounded):

  • 12 Large Eggs 24 ounces= $2.69, 24 ounces, Price per ounce $0.11 ($1.69/dozen, Price/ounce $0.070)
  • 1 Carton of Commercial Egg Whites 16 ounces = $2.29, Price per ounce $0.14
  • Can of Tuna, 5 ounces= $1.19, Price per ounce $0.24
  • Canned Great Northern Beans (no navy beans available), 15 ounces=$0.99, Price per ounce $0.07
  • Peanut Butter, 16 ounces = $2.69, Price per ounce $0.17
  • Raw Whole Chicken, 16 ounces= $0.99, Price per ounce $0.06
  • Ground Beef Chuck, 16 ounces=$3.33, Price per ounce $0.21

In order of cost per ounce (smallest to highest):

Canned Beans, Raw Whole Chicken, large Egg, Egg Whites, Peanut Butter, Ground Beef, and Tuna

In order of protein percent (smallest to highest, rounded percents):

Beans 8, Egg White 11, Whole Egg 12, Tuna 19, Chicken 20, Peanut Butter 22, Ground Beef 26

Calculating cost per gram of protein (using 453 grams per 16 ounces, 50 grams= 1.766 ounces)

For 8/28/15 the lowest cost per gram of protein to the highest:

Chicken $0.010, Peanut Butter $0.027, Ground Beef $0.028, Whole Egg $0.031, Beans $0.033, Tuna $0.044, and Egg White $0.045

When eggs are

$1.69/dozen: or $0.69/dozen:

Chicken $0.010, Whole Egg $0.020

Whole Eggs $0.008, Chicken $0.010

Egg Protein is the most affordable per gram of protein when eggs are at their seasonal lowest price. Whole raw chicken at $0.99 per pound is the most affordable when eggs are at a seasonal high.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, United States Department of Agriculture, https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/.

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