- A new frozen folded version of Just Egg, designed for use in breakfast sandwiches or on toast, will be sold in grocers' freezer sections at about 5,000 stores nationwide starting in April, the company announced Wednesday. It also will be available for restaurants and other foodservice distributors.
- The product, like the bottled version of Just Egg, is plant-based and made from mung bean protein. It will be the only product like this in the plant-based space, the company says.
- Just also announced a new version of its bottled egg that will be "cleaner, creamier and more egg-like than many chicken eggs." It will be released in May. Along with the new variation, the price will drop as a result of more efficiencies in sourcing, processing and manufacturing. Andrew Noyes, Just's head of global communications, told Food Dive the company is targeting a 35% price reduction across the board. If things go as planned, he said, suggested retail price for a 12-ounce bottle will be reduced to $4.99 from its current $7.99.
While 2019 was the year Just Egg cracked open the egg substitute category, 2020 is already shaping up to be even bigger. With the new folded egg product, a new formulation, a new facility in which to make the mung bean protein and lower prices, the brand seems poised to expand its position in the category.
According to point-of-sale data from IRI provided by Just, the egg product is currently the No. 1 liquid egg substitute product, based on average store sales per week. Since launching Just Egg, the company has sold the equivalent of more than 20 million eggs. The bottled liquid plant-based egg substitute, which cooks like beaten eggs, is available at many grocery stores nationwide. Just Egg also is part of the menu at restaurants including Tim Hortons, Bareburger and the hot bar at Whole Foods Market.
In December, Just announced it acquired Del Dee Foods, a protein ingredients company in Appleton, Minnesota, for an undisclosed amount. Just had worked with Del Dee as a co-packer, and bought the company as its owners contemplated a sale. The acquisition included a 30,000 square-foot facility and 40 acres of land. Noyes told Food Dive at the time Just anticipates expanding the business there.
As plant-based everything has expanded in popularity, Just has dominated the egg substitute segment. Its vegan competitors include Follow Your Heart's VeganEgg and Spero Foods' Scramblit. Other popular egg substitutes on the market actually contain egg or are powdered ingredients for recipes that use egg as a binder.
Considering the plethora of plant-based milks, meats and cheeses available to consumers, it seems strange that more manufacturers haven't gone after plant-based eggs. However, this could be confirmation of the simple fact that plant-based eggs that look, taste and cook like those that come from chickens are difficult to develop.
Having found a solution, Just is smart to not only perfect its product, but also spend time on innovations and improvements that make it more desirable and less expensive. Plant-based egg sales increased 38% between April 2018 and April 2019, according to SPINS numbers published by the Plant Based Foods Association.
The folded egg product, which is kept frozen but can cook in minutes in the toaster or a microwave, helps bring a convenient, high protein and on-the-go breakfast to consumers who are vegan or want to eat plant-based for sustainability reasons. This product has high market potential for Just. According to a 2017 report from Future Market Insights, the global on-the-go breakfast product market is predicted to be worth $1.9 billion in 2026, up from $1.2 billion in 2015.
And in the case of Just, it's important to build the brand and expand the market among consumers who care about sustainability. Because while the (plant-based) egg came first, the company has long been working on (cell-cultured) chicken meat. The company has said it is prepared to bring its chicken nuggets to market in Asia as soon as it can get regulatory approval. Sustainability is one of the key marketing points for plant-based and cell-based food companies, and with another successful plant-based product line, Just is ahead of the game. As the company expands its reach with additional new and innovative products, it's able to build further momentum for the plant-based brand and further solidify its already dominant position in the segment.