Puris Holdings has spent much of the last decade quietly evolving into the largest supplier of pea protein in North America to CPGs that incorporate it into their food and beverages. Now, the Minnesota-based company is boosting its public image by launching its first plant-based egg brand that will more closely connect it to a different audience: the consumer.
“Our core has always been that we’re a food company and not just an ingredients company,” Nicole Atchison, CEO of family-owned Puris Holdings, said in an interview. “It’s always been in the back of our mind that we wanted to get closer to the consumer. That’s what we’re doing with the AcreMade product.”
AcreMade is a plant-based egg brand that uses yellow field peas as its main protein source. The debut product, Egg Substitute, is a powder that is nutritionally similar to a traditional egg with each serving containing 5 grams of protein and no cholesterol. It’s also gluten-free, certified Kosher and non-GMO.
A case of eight, 4.9 oz bags (96 total servings) will sell online for $54.99 — bringing the cost of each serving roughly in line with how much shoppers pay for cage-free eggs, according to the company. Puris is in talks with retailers to carry AcreMade on their shelves, said Atchison. It’s also open to having AcreMade incorporated by other companies into other foods they are making like quiches and egg patties.
Sales of vegan eggs are growing rapidly. The category is expected to boom into a $3.3 billion market by 2031, according to data from Fact.MR provided by Puris.
AcreMade joins a suddenly crowded category for animal-free egg and egg ingredients.
Hodo Foods has been making a tofu version of scrambled eggs and in April launched a new Egg Scramble in 1,500 stores. A month later, Ginkgo Bioworks partnered with Evo Foods to create and scale animal-free egg proteins through precision fermentation.
The Every Company has scaled animal-free egg proteins enough to offer them as ingredients. And Eat Just, which makes its eggs from mung bean protein and other ingredients, reportedly is in 2 million households and dominates the plant-based egg market in the U.S. with a 99% share.
Atchison said AcreMade is different from other plant-based egg offerings on the market. Its Egg Substitute is allergen-free — most egg substitutes have some type of allergic ingredient, she noted — and has a long shelf life of two years. AcreMade also has more protein than other plant-based offerings that have a lower amount because it can interfere with things like taste, texture and product quality.
Puris is no stranger to pea protein, having first started selling the ingredient in 2014 for use in food and beverages.
In 2019, Puris received investments from agribusiness giant Cargill topping $100 million to build a second 200,000-square-foot processing plant in Dawson, Minnesota, doubling its ingredient output. The facility allows Puris to better capitalize on the demand from CPGs looking for ingredients for their plant-based milks, yogurts, meats and other products. It also gave the company the flexibility to explore ventures like AcreMade.
In creating the new plant-based egg, AcreMade builds upon Puris’ prior work developing functional protein with a neutral taste profile. AcreMade already had a deep understanding of the pea’s genetics, and how it was grown, processed and formulated. It then combined that insight with what it knew about other ingredients to create an egg it claims looks, cooks, tastes and has the nutritional equivalent of an animal-based one.
“Having that foundation, that partnership with Puris Proteins gave us a head start,” Atchison said. “While we’re new at AcreMade, we’re a legacy plant-based food company and have been developing plant-based foods in different iterations for a very long time.”