You should never buy eggs at Sprouts. Here's why

Sprouts Farmers Market is well-known for offering quality products, and they proudly proclaim that 90 percent of their 19,000 products are natural or organic (via South New Jersey Development Council). However, you might want to skip the egg department, as the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere's 2017 investigation suggests that the company may not be monitoring its products closely enough — at least not in the case of their eggs (via Phoenix Business Journal).

Direct Action Everywhere looked into Morning Fresh Farms, a company that supplies eggs to Sprouts Farmers Market through its Rocky Mountain Cage Free and Eggland's Best brands (via Morning Fresh Farms). The video they subsequently released showed chickens with deformed beaks or beaks "sealed shut with dried feces," either starving to death or rotting on the floor (via The New York Times). Yes, the eggs were technically "cage-free," but the conditions they lived in by no means met the standards of "humane." More worrying still? Sprouts claims that their suppliers either "meet or exceed" animal welfare standards outlined by both Humane Farm Animal Care or Certified Human (via Sprouts Farmers Market).

It's worth noting that Sprouts isn't the first supermarket to come under fire for their egg-sourcing practices — Aldi may not be the best place to buy eggs, either. And, in the wake of the investigation, Sprouts hurried to assure customers that the video was "not reflective" of the Moring Fresh Farms cage-free facility that Sprouts' eggs came from (via WattAgNet). Still, you may want to think twice about buying eggs from the retailer just to be on the safe side.

The one egg brand that you should buy at Sprouts

If you are going to buy eggs from Sprouts, invest in their Vital Farms varieties. Vital Farms, which describes itself as "disrupting the U.S. food system," sources its eggs from roughly 200 family farms that are all pasture-raised and certified humane (via Progressive Grocer and Certified Humane). 

All signs point to them being serious about their efforts. Last year, for example, they made national headlines for investing in a new, in-ovo sexing technology, that would allow them to end the mass culling (i.e. slaughtering) of male chicks (via The Washington Post). In fact, it's so committed to its fair-food mission that at the beginning of 2020 it launched a food-traceability program. That means that you, as a consumer, can view the exact farm that the eggs that you cook for breakfast came from (via PR Newswire). 

If animal welfare doesn't move your pocketbook, consider the health benefits of pasture-raised eggs. A growing body of research supports the idea that pasture-raised eggs have significantly higher amounts of nutrients than caged eggs — think vitamin A, omega-3s, vitamin E, vitamin D, and beta carotene (via Foodprint and PopSugar). It's something to think about the next time you want to feel good about your breakfast scramble