San Francisco-based food technology start-up Hampton Creek Foods has created a plant-based egg product that is cheaper, healthier, lasts longer, and is more sustainable than traditional eggs. Beyond Eggs can be used to replace eggs both in manufactured goods such as dressings and sauces, baked goods and pasta, and as an ingredient for the food service industry.
A team of food scientists, chefs and molecular biologists studied 287 types of plants and tested 344 prototypes before creating the product. By dividing an egg into 22 separate components, they were able to replace each attribute with plant-based ingredients such as sunflower lecithin, canola, peas, and natural gum, while maintaining the physical, functional and textural qualities of regular eggs.
The company, which is backed by US venture capitalist firm Khosla Ventures, is currently offering free samples to customers and is close to signing a deal with a large food company, according to US news company GigaOM.
The United Nations estimates that food production will need to double by 2015 in order to feed the growing global population. Intensive meat and fish production methods are no longer tenable. As more consumers subscribe to vegetarian and gluten-free diets and demand for sustainable, locally sourced foods increases (see New Locavores and The New Hunter-Gatherer), protein replacement products such as Beyond Eggs are likely to become more common. Read more about this in our coverage of 2011’s World Food Technology and Innovation Forum.