Egg replacement from plants cracks into new markets with distribution deal
- Renmatix, which produces an egg replacement called Simple Cellulose, will have its product distributed to more food and beverage manufacturers across the U.S. following an agreement with ingredient supplier The Ingredient House, according to Food Ingredients First.
- Simple Cellulose is an egg replacement derived from plant materials and agricultural feedstock without the use of chemicals. Renmatix estimated it can save bakeries 25% to 50% annually on their cost of eggs.
- Renmatix said there are a number of opportunities that Simple Cellulose can tap into for growth involving the clean label push, including product texture, moisture retention and replacement of fats. The company said its product is a good replacement for eggs, which can be volatile due to illness, weather or disruptions in the supply, and it is more environmentally friendly.
Eggs are one of nature’s best-kept baking secrets that are effective as binders, texturizers, moisturizers and leaveners. But that also makes its attributes difficult to reproduce. Simple Cellulose is the latest attempt to find a replacement for conventional eggs. Although not the first product on the market — JUST Egg, Neat Egg, Ener-G Egg Replacer and the Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk are all widely available as substitutes — Simple Cellulose is approaching the problem slightly differently.
Instead of looking to replicate an egg and be edible on its own, Renmatix’s new product is simply looking to replicate the functionalities by replacing eggs and fats, texturizing ingredients and increasing the moisture retention required for freshness extension. While it claims to cut costs, as with most substitutes, whether it is used widely by food and beverage companies will come down to taste.
According to Food Ingredients First, the product renders baked goods convincingly enough that the company has received a significant number of orders since they debuted at the IFT Food Expo 2018 in July. However, for egg replacements, it’s not always all about taste.
Eggs are a commodity that are particularly susceptible to volatility, which can make a more price-stable replacement attractive to manufacturers who are using it on a larger scale.
Four years ago when bird flu spread through U.S. poultry farms, the cost for egg liquids jumped 240% causing many manufacturers to search for alternatives. The result was that egg replacements suddenly found a large, new market. General Mills worked through 2015's egg shortage and record-high prices by using powdered egg replacements, such as the plant-based substitute from JUST called JUST Eggs. Today, it appears General Mills has returned to using real eggs and even pledged to use cage-free only by 2025.
Still, there is a new market to which egg replacements may appeal. With the increase of clean label and plant-based food efforts, products like Simply Cellulose are likely to be in high demand in these areas. Its claims of sustainability and cruelty-free production, as well as the fact that it is suitable for allergen-free and gluten-free foods, makes this particular egg substitute primed to appeal to these demographics without sacrificing on taste.
The only potential hurdle that Simple Cellulose could face may be something similar to what Impossible Burger has endured in order to get its signature "bleeding" heme ingredient approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, it may take more orders from some of the larger U.S. food and beverage manufacturers in The Ingredient House network, or directly from the companies themselves, before a question of this magnitude comes onto the FDA’s radar. If it does, that might mean that Simple Cellulose is a market force.