- Hampton Creek received "generally recognized as safe" status from the Food and Drug Administration for a mung bean protein isolate it nicknamed "Jack," according to a company statement. According to the vegan condiment and cookie company, this is only the 7th plant protein isolate to receive GRAS certification from the FDA.
- One cup of mung bean provides 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. Hampton Creek is planning on using this protein isolate in a processed egg substitute product called "Just Scramble." They report it would contain 20% more protein than a chicken egg with zero cholesterol.
- The possibilities for "Jack" reach beyond egg alternatives. Hampton Creek says it could be used to make a number of other products, like ice cream and butter. They report they may produce these vegan options with the ingredient themselves, or possibly license it to other food manufacturers.
Hampton Creek receiving GRAS status for the mung bean protein isolate is a nice milestone for the company and the industry as a whole.The novelty and healthy image of a plant protein will likely warrant some sampling by consumers trying to find an affordable alternative to pricey organic eggs. And as Hampton Creek branches out into product lines beyond the condiments and cookies it is known for, another protein in its arsenal allows the company greater flexibility and new possibilities. If it tastes good and doesn’t have unpleasant side effects, this could be a huge win for Hampton Creek.
Mung beans have historically been grown and consumed in Thailand, India, China and other parts of Southeast Asia. They're relatively new to the U.S. diet, and have only been cultivated here since the 1830s. They are naturally high in potassium, folate and magnesium. According to nutritionists, they're easy to digest because of their fiber content.
Studies have shown that mung bean may have strong disease prevention credentials as well, making it the type of ingredient with a nutritional profile that could benefit any product. Researchers have found that the legume could regulate cholesterol levels, inhibiting the oxidation of "bad" cholesterol. It's also been found to lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, and prevent sepsis from setting in after infections.
This new ingredient could bring a lot of nutrition to the types of products that are not known for their "healthy" profiles, like ice cream. It could also go far in the way of marketing Hampton Creek's new egg substitute as a product that is not only vegan, but better for consumers than chicken eggs ever could be.