So, which did come first, the chicken or the egg? If Hampton Creek Foods is successful, it really won’t matter anymore.
That’s because the company is developing a plant-based replacement for eggs and has already released its first product, according to a recent Associated Press article.
The plant-based egg alternative is touted as a high-tech disruptor to the global egg industry. That’s the industry which contributes more than its fair share of pollutants to the environment, wastes hen-houses full of energy, and in many documented cases, abuses and even tortures chickens.
Hampton Creek Foods’ first product, Just Mayo mayonnaise, is available at Whole Foods Markets. It sells for roughly the same price as regular mayonnaise. Website planetsave.com describes the eggless mayonnaise as a light, clean mayonnaise that’s creamier than Hellmann’s. It also contains no dairy, no preservatives, no soy and no gluten. And it’s non-GMO, if you need it.
Hampton Creek is backed by heavy hitters, including Bill Gates and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, along with an impressive list of Silicon Valley venture capital lynchpins. In other words, it’s not just a flash in the frying pan. Cookie dough and a batter that scrambles up like eggs are slated to be the next releases.
Substitutes for conventional mainstays like eggs are being developed by a growing number of food-related startups, which are focused in many cases on sustainability and reducing challenges within the food chain.
These food-tech ventures have drawn increasing interest from venture capital firms in part because, like their Silicon Valley brethren, they offer alternatives to the tired, wasteful “establishment” ways of doing things.
Challenges remain, to be sure. Chief among them is changing the way people eat, or at least adding to the way people eat. The egg substitute already appeals to vegans and to conscious eaters looking for healthier proteins. And there’s no doubt that the egg industry will have something to say about it, probably akin to the old “fox in the henhouse” expression.
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