A new commercial egg substitute made its debut in vegan mayo and cookie dough at Whole Foods stores in California last week, and the product, Beyond Eggs, is being backed by none other than Bill Gates.
“After researching 1,500 plants in the world, we’ve discovered 11 plants that behave like a real egg, which we are able to utilize in a number of different ways,” says Josh Tetrick, the 32-year-old vegan founder of Beyond Eggs and Hampton Creek Foods.
Beyond Eggs, however, will not solve your brunch conundrum. It’s a powder and is only being used in commercial products, each of which is made from a different plant combo depending on its use. The “eggs” in the mayo, for example, are made from peas; in the cookie dough, it’s beans. Tetrick is promising a “scrambled” product down the road, but for now, animal-product-eschewers will have to stick to the tofu-nutritional yeast model.
So why a vegan egg? Tetrick is driven by a desire to change the larger food system, citing lots of problems with conventional egg production, like inhumane conditions for chickens and carbon emissions produced by trucking tons of chicken feed. “Beyond Eggs will be 19 percent cheaper than eggs, will last longer on the shelf than eggs, is safer to use than eggs, and is better for you than eggs,” says the passionate founder, who clearly sees his innovation as contributing to the healthy food reform movement.
After the California roll-out, the company is expanding its reach to a number of Whole Foods locations in the mid-Atlantic, Southern, and Rocky Mountain regions. With Gates backing it, vegans all over the place may soon be chowing down on egg-laden foods they haven’t tasted in years. —Lisa Elaine Held and Jennifer Kass
For more information, visit www.hamptoncreekfoods.com