Hampton Creek, a San Francisco-based food company selling plant-based food, recently revealed their eggless scrambled eggs. The product, a bold idea already years in the making, cost the company a lot of time and plenty of challenges before the new “scrambled eggs” were ready for public consumption.
After a somewhat chaotic year filled with various financial losses and even a few executives leaving the company, Hampton Creek is finally getting back on track with a new influx of investment funds. Famous for its brand of cookie dough, eggless mayonnaise, and other vegan food and condiments, the company revealed Just Scramble as their newest plant-based product.
Not the First, But the Best
The company strongly believes that while its vegan scrambled eggs are not the first of its kind, they are the best. Just Scramble is a yellow liquid that when cooked in a frying pan, fluffs just like actual eggs do. However, majority of the composition is from mung bean.
Hampton Creek has plans of rolling out their Just Scramble products to restaurants, beginning with a few local ones in San Francisco. Eventually, they plan to distribute to groceries and food service distributors. Flore, a café in San Francisco’s Castro district, is the first restaurant to use Just Scramble in their menu.
Hampton Creek is betting customers will be on board as well, mainly due to the product’s sustainability, and its health-giving properties. First, it is free of cholesterol and antibiotics; because it is vegan, there is no risk of avian contamination such as salmonella and avian flu. Lastly, it is eco-friendly because it requires less water and has fewer carbon emissions compared to regular eggs.
The main question people might be asking is, “how do these ‘eggs’ taste like?” Hampton Creek is proud to say their product tastes, looks, and scrambles just like a normal egg – there is ideally nothing to sacrifice when it comes to texture and flavor. The only possible challenge would be its pricing, as normal eggs cost around $1.05 per dozen, on average. Just Scramble, while not expensive, costs between $4 and $6 – at par with the price of a dozen free-range eggs, according to Hampton Creek co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joshua Tetrick.
“It’s not a product just for conscious consumers,” the CEO mentioned. “It’s not a product just for people who care about the environment or animal welfare. It’s something for everyone.”
While the mung bean-based scrambled egg substitute is not revolutionary in the sense of being the first of its kind, Just Scramble is the first that mimics the taste and feel of real eggs. There have been other egg replacements before from other companies, such as those created from potato and tapioca starch, and even chia seeds and garbanzo beans. Other vegan egg substitutes that came before it reportedly lacked in taste and texture, something Hampton Creek made sure would not happen to their product.
Sustainability and Health
There has always been a debate as to whether eggs were healthy or not, at least, for human consumption. Some experts correlate it to heart disease especially for people with high cholesterol and other heart health issues, while others believe eating it is healthy as long as the egg has been hard boiled so the yolk is well done.
However, eggs are bad for the health of the planet – something that tugs on Hampton Creek’s philosophy that global egg production is unsustainable. It was found that it requires around 39 calories of energy to farm just one calorie’s worth of egg protein, a stark contrast not many people are aware of since eggs are relatively cheap.
It turns out, chicken manure excretes an excess amount of phosphorous and nitrogen that ends up polluting rivers, as well as ammonia from the henhouses that pollutes the soil. With 59 million tons of eggs produced in 2007, a number expected to increase dramatically by 2030 according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, this is definitely not good for the planet.
Going vegan, at least partially, helps. Eating too much meat in general is bad for the health; experts found that most Americans eat red meat almost every day but not in moderation. Producing meat takes its toll on the environment, just like egg production. While the company’s efforts on creating clean meat is still in the backburner and the eggless eggs take center stage, Tetrick says they are “really close”, and they feel their version of meat substitutes will be out this 2018.
For now, their focus is on their egg-free scrambled egg substitutes. “Wherever an egg is cracked or wherever an egg is scrambled, we want to be there,” Tetrick mentioned. He is expecting the cost of production to go lower as time passes, and is optimistic about the success of their venture. “As long as we’re focused on doing the right thing, we’ll deal with it and continue to grow,” he said.