Artificial Eggs made from plants get some big backers
A radical ‘artificial egg’ backed by Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel and Bill Gates goes on sale in US supermarkets for the first time today. Made from plants, it can replace eggs in everything from cakes to mayonnaise – without a chicken ever coming close to the production process.
The team today started selling their ‘plant egg’, called Beyond Eggs, in Whole Foods in California – and say it could soon be available in supermarkets worldwide.
‘We want to take animals out of the equation,’ said Josh Tetrick, the firm’s founder. ‘The food industry is begging for innovation, especially where animals are involved – it is a broken industry.’
Tetrick’s idea was to find a mix of easy-to-grow plants that, when mixed together in the right way, replicate the taste, nutritional values and cooking properties of an egg.
This, he believes will allow the firm to produce its substitute for mass market foods – and to allow developing worlds to grow their own versions with added nutrients.
‘Eggs are functionally incredible, they do everything from hold oil and water in mayo to making the muffin rise and holding scrambled eggs together,’ he said ‘I started to think what if we can find plants that can do this. We have about 12 plants pre-selected, including a pea already widely grown in Canada. There’s also a bean in South Asia that is incredible in scrambled eggs.’
The firm is already in talks with major food manufacturers around the world – including several in the UK, to replace eggs in supermarket products with their alternative.
So far, he says the team has perfected an egg substitute for mayonnaise, and one for cakes.
‘We can make really good mayonnaise, we’ve done taste tests against market leaders, and beaten them consistently. In the world of cookies, we’ve trialled our products with everyone from Bill Gates to Tony Blair, both of whom couldn’t taste the difference.
‘Bill Gates became an advisor to the company, and has been one of its most vocal supporters in the Silicon Valley world where Hampton Creek is based.
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