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Basic Overview of Plant-Based Eggs

Plant-based eggs have joined the rising trend of alternative proteins and have been welcomed by vegans, climate enthusiasts, and health-conscious people. Although, according to the International Egg Commission, the demand for eggs would rise by about 20% by the year 2030. Yet, there is a multitude of health concerns circling the consumption of eggs. Concerns regarding consumption of eggs include egg allergies, salmonella outbreaks, high amount of cholesterol, etc. Genetically modified eggs and the significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions surrounding egg production have led to skepticism among egg consumers. In response to these critical issues manufacturers and producers have reviewed their production system and have introduced organic eggs, free-range eggs, and with alteration of the nutritional properties the omega-3 eggs and the low cholesterol eggs.

In addition to the regulation of the production and nutrition methodology of conventional eggs, manufacturers are also exploring ways to create plant-based eggs as a substitute for eggs. Plant-based eggs can be used as an excellent alternative to traditional eggs that are not produced from hens or other birds, but with the use of raw materials or ingredients that originate from plants, such as, for example, pulses or legumes, cereals, or algae, which can to imitate similar functionalities to eggs, such as emulsification, stabilization, gelation, protein content, whip ability, etc.

To curb the growing demand for plant-based eggs, manufacturers, start-ups, SMEs, and even established players are testing and working on the development of prototypes of imitation eggs. The major goal of such companies regarding plant-based eggs is to replicate the functionality, taste, texture, cost, and availability of conventional eggs. Plant-based eggs have several advantages over conventional eggs. Plant-based eggs are produced with natural, ingredients from plants without the aid of hens. Additionally, they are allergen-free and cholesterol-free. This could be advantageous for those suffering from egg and albumin protein allergies. Plant-based eggs will not be susceptible to animal and bird-related flu such as avian flu, salmonella, etc. can be transmittable to humans too. Plant-based eggs also offer a stable solution to the high price volatility that affects the egg market. The manufacture of plant-based eggs claims to be more environmentally sustainable than the production techniques revolving around conventional egg production. Many emerging start-ups produced plant-based eggs to satisfy the increasing demand and reduce the environmental impact. Various start-ups such as Just Egg, Simply Egg, Perfeggt, Zero egg, Evo foods are working on the production of plant-based eggs from different plant ingredients and have commercialized their products. Plant-based eggs come in two very distinct forms- liquid and dried powder. The liquid counterpart of the plant-based eggs are created generally by the process of protein isolation and sold in bottles that can be used for making scrambled eggs, omelets, or baking. The dried powdered plant-based eggs are made by a process of protein fermentation or isolation processes and are still in the prototype or research stage.

How are Plant-based eggs made?

The present methodology for the production of a plant-based egg substitute from Mung bean is described according to the patent granted to the company Eat Just (Exhibit1 and Exhibit 2).

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The Drawbacks of Plant-Based Eggs

The present methodology for the production of a plant-based egg substitute from Mung bean is described according to the patent granted to the company Eat Just (Exhibit1 and Exhibit 2).

Some challenges in plant-based eggs that must be addressed for them to be preferred over conventional eggs. Plant-based eggs are expensive in comparison to even free-range, organic eggs. This would prevent consumers from choosing vegan eggs over traditional eggs. Plant-based eggs have less protein, and other vital nutrients that can be found in conventional eggs. One large egg has about 6 grams of protein, whereas one serving of Just Egg’s liquid vegan egg has about 5 grams of protein. Some companies although Evo food’s Evo egg has about 11 grams of proteins. Hence this factor can be subject to the plant ingredient or blend of the ingredients used.

Another major drawback with plant-based eggs is the amount of added preservatives, additives, emulsifiers, binders and the amount of sodium present. These additives help to preserve, texturize and improve the functionality and taste of the plant-based eggs. A single serving of Just Egg’s vegan eggs has about 175mg of sodium whereas Conventional eggs only have about 65mg. However, prolonged consumption of the same might be unhealthy in the long run as these are considered to be processed foods. A diet high in ultra-processed foods has been associated with an increased risk of obesity and cancer. Some of the additives used in plant-based ingredients include hydrocolloids, such as pectin, carrageenan and guar gum, which have been employed to provide natural foaming, thickening, and emulsifier agents to strengthen the structure made by plant-based proteins and starches, and for an enhanced mouthfeel.

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Eat Just (USA)

  • Eat Just is a company that produces plant-based egg substitutes
  • The plant-based egg products are made from mung bean
  • Offers slaughter-free frittatas, omelets, French toast
  • The company utilizes cutting-edge science and technology to make healthier, and more sustainable foods

The company produces plant-based products by using key ingredients such as mung beans. It contains proteins that taste and scrambles like an egg. Mung bean is a sustainable crop, which is rich in potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber. JUST Egg obtains its egg-yolk golden color naturally by using turmeric and carrot. The products are cholesterol-free, Non-GMO, and contain no artificial flavors. The company has raised USD 97 million in funds for cultured meat production.

Simply Eggless (USA)

Simply Eggless is a manufacturer and retailer of plant-based eggs that it makes from Lupin beans. The plant-based eggs are infused with prebiotics to improve their functionality. The company was founded in 2020. Simply Eggless’s vegan eggs cook and tastes like conventional eggs and are rich in protein, abundant in natural prebiotic fibers, low in carbohydrates, and are devoid of cholesterol, enabling vegans, vegetarians, and climate enthusiasts to prepare a wide range of delicacies like muffins, cakes, cookies, and pasta.

Benefits of Plant-Based Eggs

  • The production of plant-based eggs is sustainable and ethical compared to commercial large-scale conventional egg production
  • It reduces animal-human transmissible diseases such as avian flu or salmonella outbreaks
  • People suffering from egg or albumin allergy can consume plant-based eggs
  • Without animal products, vegan or plant-based eggs contain no cholesterol and can be advantageous for people suffering from heart conditions such as atherosclerosis
  • Better animal and bird welfare
  • Plant-based eggs can be hormone or antibiotic-free

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