The impact series: 6 facts you should know about egg alternatives
Continuing with the topic of impact areas, today we’re looking at egg alternatives. While consumers are eager to adopt plant-based eggs into their diets and the market is growing exponentially, it is still one of the least-explored areas in the alt-protein world.
This is our second blog post on the food sectors that ProVeg is targeting for optimal impact – chicken, eggs, and fish. These sectors are especially important to us at the ProVeg Incubator for two key reasons.
First of all, production of these animal-based foods is staggeringly high. Resulting in intensive land use, high greenhouse gas emissions, intensive resource use, and animal suffering – all of which have major detrimental effects on the environment, animal welfare, and human health.
Secondly, consumers report that these are the categories in which there just aren’t enough options on supermarket shelves. A survey by ProVeg of European consumers, for example, shows that only 11% of reducers have tried egg alternatives, despite being keen to do so.
As the demand for egg alternatives increases, meeting consumers’ expectations is a challenge for entrepreneurs. Considering that eggs of animal origin are extremely versatile, very functional, and packed with vitamins, nutrients, and protein, egg alternatives are also expected to possess all of these characteristics.
In order to explore this topic further, here are six useful facts about egg alternatives:
The global egg alternatives market is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2026, and will grow by 5.8% from 2016 to 2026
This means that there will be more and more egg-alternative options for consumers. The market is growing steadily, with plant-based entrepreneurs increasingly attracted to this potentially lucrative field.
If you’re not happy with the egg-alternative options currently available or if you cannot find decent options in your city, it seems that you won’t have to wait too long for these products to become available. If market predictions are accurate, it is likely that the supply of egg alternatives will soon expand and diversify.
Egg alternatives can be used in several ways
As expected, baking is already on the list, but with new alternatives entering the market, it is now possible to also make omelettes, scrambled eggs, and even folded eggs from commercially available egg alternatives.
In the US, for example, there are a wide array of egg alternatives available. It is only a matter of time before these products become available on supermarket shelves worldwide.
In the meantime, numerous conventional plant-based products can be used to replace eggs in baking. Here are just a few examples:
- Applesauce (1/4 cup = 1 large egg)
- Mashed banana (1/4 cup = 1 large egg)
- Water, oil, and baking powder (2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil = 1 large egg)
- Carbonated water (1/4 cup = 1 large egg)
With a bit of experimentation and research, you should be able to find the perfect egg substitute for your baked goods.
Intensive use of water is required for animal egg production
Egg production requires a lot of resources, including water. As a matter of comparison, Zero Eggs, for example, claim to use 93% less water than conventional eggs, while Simply Eggless claim to use 95% less water. This is a huge difference, which means that changing our eating habits can have a substantial impact on water usage.
Egg alternatives usually have zero cholesterol
The debate about how healthy animal-based eggs are has been raging for decades. However, when comparing plant-based eggs to their animal-based counterparts, the former contain no cholesterol and usually have a low fat content. Egg alternatives may be a healthy alternative for those with heart disease, diabetes, or those who wish to avoid cholesterol!
The average persons consumes 161 eggs per person per year
This number is the result of the number of eggs produced every year divided by our global population of 7.6 billion people (data from 2018). Of course, egg consumption varies between different countries. In Mexico, for example, the data shows that 368 eggs are eaten by each person per year. While in India, the average is 76 eggs per person per year.
Of course, many of the eggs consumed around the world are not eaten directly but as an ingredient in cakes, pastries, ice cream, etc. Furthermore, egg production is expanding. Since 1990, worldwide egg production has more than doubled , reaching 83.4 million tons by 2019.
When looking at this data, it’s important to think about what’s behind it. How many natural resources are we excessively using to produce a single egg? How many animals live in cruelly unnatural conditions so that supermarkets can provide a continual supply of eggs?
Several companies are already working on convincing egg alternatives
These are some of the companies working in the alt-egg space:
Well known in the US, this startup reinvented the egg with no animals involved. Eat Just’s product line includes a liquid egg (for making scrambled egg), a folded egg, and a sous vide egg.
In 2019, Eat Just saw an 192% increase in dollar sales and is the fastest-growing company in the egg-alternative sector. Eat Just is scheduled to reach European markets in 2021.
EVO Foods is preparing to launch its liquid egg product, which is poised to have a major impact on the plant-based sector in India. The company has raised funding capital from Big Idea Ventures.
Based in Israel, Zero Egg product produces 59% less greenhouse gas emissions and uses 93% less water and 92% less land than conventional eggs. You can make scrambles, omelettes, frittatas, quiches, and a variety of baking applications by using Zero Egg’s products. Zero Egg is currently focusing on B2B partners in Europe, Israel, and the US. It is still not yet available in supermarkets.
This US company produces egg alternatives from lupin beans. With Simply Eggless, you can cook a variety of traditional egg-based dishes.
Part of the current cohort at the ProVeg Incubator, Swiss startup Eggfield is developing whole and liquid egg alternatives for use in baking and cooking. The team’s goal is to support food-industry partners in their transition to plant-based product ranges.
As the ProVeg Incubator has a particular focus on chicken, egg, and fish alternatives, we strongly encourage startups working on food solutions in these sectors to apply to join our next cohort! Look out for our third piece in this series – which will delve into fish and will be coming soon.