- Hampton Creek announced the launch of its Just Scramble vegan egg substitute on Thursday, according to a company statement. The product debuts in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered, and will arrive nationwide in 2018. According to Quartz, the product will first be available to chefs, companies and restaurant chains. It will become available to consumers later in 2018.
- Along with the launch of the product, which uses mung bean as its base ingredient, Hampton Creek announced two new funders: Radicle Impact and Blue Horizon. These firms, the company statement says, invest in companies that make social and environmental impacts.
- The mung bean-based product scrambles like an egg, contains no cholesterol or antibiotics and has ingredients requiring less water and generating fewer emissions than traditional eggs. According to the company, the product also tastes like egg. "We were lucky enough to find something that has impacted our food system for thousands of years and turn it into a meal that will impact it for thousands more," Josh Tetrick, Hampton Creek's cofounder and CEO, said in the statement. “Launching Just Scramble is the culmination of years of hard work by our talented team."
Hampton Creek has been working for years to develop a vegan egg substitute to sell to consumers, and with the official launch, the company previously best known for its vegan condiments and cookies has finally cracked this market.
It's been no secret that the egg substitute was going to be Hampton Creek's next big product. After all, the mung bean ingredient central to the product received generally recognized as safe status from the Food and Drug Administration in August. Just Scramble also was showcased at the 10thBridge2Food Protein Summit in France in September, where it won the “Best Plant-Based Food” award. And Hampton Creek once supplied General Mills with an egg substitute ingredient for its products.
So why would Hampton Creek want to break into the egg market, which the American Egg Board says has seen higher per capita consumption, but is still reeling from an oversupply after the 2015 avian influenza outbreak? One reason is Hampton Creek is committed to a better and more sustainable food supply. And even though the egg industry has been getting more sustainable in the last half century, a bean protein isolate still wins from an environmental standpoint. Though eggs are relatively healthy, Hampton Creek has said that mung bean provides 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber in a cup, and contains 20% more protein than a chicken egg, though the company says this Just Scramble formulation has about the same amount of protein as a conventional egg.
But most importantly, this product doesn't rely on poultry. According to testimony from U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, 42 million chickens — a number equal to 10% of the nation's egg laying hens — had to be destroyed during the 2015 bird flu epidemic. During the outbreak, egg prices suddenly spiked, and consumers turned away from the traditional kitchen staple. While producers are working hard to prevent future disease outbreaks, if another one comes, products like Just Scramble will not be impacted.
Just Scramble also is a completely vegan product. According to the Top Trends in Prepared Foods 2017 report, 6% of Americans identify as vegan. While this isn't a large slice of the population, just 1% of the population made a similar claim in 2014. And although most U.S. consumers are unlikely to become vegan, interest in plant-based foods of all sorts is rising. Just Scramble will likely draw devotees from consumers who want to cut out animal-based food and eat healthier.
Food and ingredient leaders who sampled Just Scramble raved about it in Hampton Creek's company statement.
"It’s a sustainable 22nd century food for a 21st century planet that’s in desperate need of real solutions to its food and ecology problems,” Andrew Zimmern, chef, author and Travel Channel host, said in the statement.
All of Hampton Creek's products available so far are vegan. Traditional variations of many of its products — namely the mayonnaise varieties — rely on eggs. So far, according to sustainability metrics released by the company on Thursday, consumers who chose the company's products between January and October eliminated the need for more than 3,947,592 eggs. Just Scramble is sure to help that number grow in months going forward.