A lot of attention is being paid to plant-based protein products, but in most cases, we hear more about meat substitutes than we do about egg substitutes.
But JUST Inc.’s JUST Egg is gaining some attention.
We first reported on the JUST Egg about a year ago. The makers of the mung bean-based product tout it as being free of antibiotics and cholesterol, as well as containing ingredients that have a smaller environmental footprint than eggs from chickens.
Since that time, JUST has gained some traction. Andrew Noyes, head of global communications with JUST Inc., said that in a matter of months, the company has sold the plant-based equivalent of 10 million chicken eggs. It’s geographical reach spans throughout the U.S. at restaurants, corporate cafeterias, colleges campuses, government facilities and hotels. It also has distribution in China and Singapore, Noyes said.
Test at Tim Hortons
At the present time, most U.S. restaurants to carry the JUST Egg are smaller and somewhat obscure: Bareburger, Gregory’s Coffee, Silver Diner, Veggie Grill, Next Level Burger and La Boulangerie.
But a restaurant known on a much larger scale is testing the JUST Egg in Canada. Tim Hortons, a subsidiary of Restaurant Brand International and sister company to Burger King and Popeyes, is testing an omelette made from JUST Egg at select locations in Ontario.
“The consumer demand for 100% plant-based proteins is strong and continues to grow. Canada is one of the most requested markets for JUST and we’re excited to be able to offer our product at select Tim Hortons locations for this market test,” Noyes said.
Tim Hortons has already rolled out plant-based protein products in Canada with Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwiches offered at close to 4,000 Canadian restaurants.
How will JUST Egg be accepted?
But will the JUST Egg be popular in Canada?
I haven’t tried the product, and admit that hearing about mung beans makes me a little nervous. Yes, my trepidation is based on fiction, as Creed Bratton on the television series, “The Office,” apparently has an “old man smell” due to his love of mung beans.
But I’d be willing to give it a try. After all, there are evidently plenty of people who like its taste as evidenced by the growth of the product’s reach.
Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University, told CBC, “It basically tastes good.”
Noyes is right about the importance of the Canadian market to JUST Egg’s global reach.
However, for those in the egg industry, I would say don’t worry. As so many people have said before, consumers are looking to add more protein to their diets, and for many people plant-based proteins can be consumed in addition to, rather than instead of, protein products of an animal origin.