Duck eggs taste great! Chances are, if you’re in a fancy American restaurant, there will be some sort of dish involving duck or duck eggs.
They’re popular in the culinary world, so why aren’t duck eggs sold in stores?
Well, they are sold in stores, just not in your average local grocery store. Why?
Economics is one of the reasons. Ducks don’t typically lay eggs daily, so raising ducks for egg production is expensive. While chickens tend to lay eggs daily, ducks take much longer. It can take weeks for a duck to produce a single egg.
It doesn’t make sense for large grocery chains to sell duck eggs in a modern world where supply chains run on speed.
So, if you want to buy some, you’ll need to make your way to a premium grocer or a farmer who specializes in selling duck eggs.
Here are some of the main reasons why duck eggs are not sold in stores.
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The Economics of Duck Egg Farming Are Harder
As mentioned, one of the biggest reasons duck eggs aren’t in your local grocery store is that farming them in the U.S. doesn’t make that much sense.
In Asia, people eat duck all the time. It’s common in all types of dishes, so, naturally, there are more ducks.
You get more eggs when you have more ducks, and it’s easier to stock them in grocery stores.
Here in the U.S., duck isn’t an everyday food.
You’ll find roast duck in nice restaurants, but if you serve duck in place of chicken breast at home, you’ll likely get some strange stares from the family.
There just aren’t as many ducks being sold in the United States, so there aren’t as many eggs going into stores.
People in the U.S. Like Chickens More
Grocery shoppers are creatures of habit. We’ll try a new type of cereal on occasion but asking folks to try duck eggs can be a stretch when they’ve only eaten chicken eggs their whole lives.
Rather than put the duck eggs on the shelf with mixed results, duck farmers are shipping them to places where people enjoy eating them more.
They’re All at Your Local Asian Market
The available duck eggs are going to places where they’ll sell.
So go to one and ask them if they sell fresh duck eggs.
They probably also have salted or preserved duck eggs for sale if you want to try something new.
Duck Eggs Are Seasonal
Duck eggs are seasonal, which makes stocking them in grocery stores more challenging.
In addition, many ducks won’t lay any eggs in the winter, so that means months of zero production from duck farms.
Most grocery stores don’t want to deal with that type of inconsistency. However, smaller stores that cater to higher-end customers have the margins to work with supply changes.
Duck Eggs Cost More
Let’s say you can get duck eggs all year, and there are enough of them for a consistent supply. One big problem is that duck eggs cost a lot more than chicken eggs.
You have to raise and feed ducks for much longer than chickens, so the final product ends up costing substantially more. That matters a lot to consumers when they go into the grocery store.
Companies spend a lot of money researching how much customers are willing to spend on certain items.
If you have a carton of duck eggs that costs five times more than the chicken eggs right next to it, the customer will almost always choose chicken eggs.
The rich flavor and larger size of duck eggs are fun to cook with, which is why most people reserve using duck eggs for specific recipes.
For those one-off occasions, they go to butchers and other niche grocery stores to find duck eggs.
Some People Worry About Salmonella
Some information suggests that people in the United States soured on duck eggs during a salmonella scare after World War II.
Salmonella is a serious health concern, and the FDA sends out strongly worded warnings whenever there is a potential outbreak.
Are duck eggs a greater risk? Contrary to some beliefs, duck eggs aren’t more dangerous than chicken eggs when it comes to salmonella.
However, that doesn’t stop people from thinking a certain way once the myth is there.
Ducks Taste Gamier
People associate eggs with the animal that produces them. In the United States, chicken is by far the most popular type of meat. It’s affordable, tastes great, and is healthy.
It’s in every grocery store in the country. When we think about chicken eggs, we conjure up good memories of eating fried chicken, chicken salad, chicken parm, etc.
Chicken eggs are also in a lot of very popular foods! They go in everything from omelets to birthday cupcakes.
Duck, on the other hand, isn’t for everyone. Duck meat is a deeper red color than chicken meat and tastes gamier than chicken.
As a result, people don’t want to try duck eggs even though they’re larger and have more protein. People think the duck eggs taste the same as the duck meat they did eat and didn’t love.
Giving Duck Eggs a Try
It’s true; duck eggs have a stronger flavor than chicken eggs. Some people may not love the way duck eggs taste, but most are pleasantly surprised when they try them for the first time.
They describe the taste as “eggier,” if that makes sense. People get around that by using duck eggs in baking and other recipes where eggs aren’t the main attraction.
The people who use duck eggs report that the cookies, cake, and brownies they make are often richer than when they use chicken eggs.
Either way, it’s worth a try to see how your next batch of brownies turns out.
You could discover that you love the way your baked goods taste when you use duck eggs in the recipe.
How Much Do Duck Eggs Cost Compared to Chicken Eggs (for Eating)?
Typically, you should expect to pay several times the cost of a dozen chicken eggs for a batch of duck eggs.
In many cases, stores will sell duck eggs in smaller batches of four or six eggs because people just want to try them or need them for a single recipe.
The price also depends on where you live and how many nearby duck farms there are.
If it costs more to ship and label them, you’ll see higher price tags wherever you buy them.
However, if you live near some farms with ducks or know a person with a homestead, you should contact them to see if they’ll sell duck eggs to you directly.
Cutting out work for them will win you lower prices. You should also visit any local farmer’s markets in your area to see if anyone is selling duck eggs from animals they own.
Lots of people raise ducks and have more eggs than they know what to do with, so they sell or give them to friends and neighbors.