Would you enjoy a baked treat that was:
- Free from eggs (Battery cage, “free-range” or backyard)
- As good or better tasting than its competitors
- Cholesterol free
- Better for the environment
- Less expensive
- Free from the risk of salmonella
- Possibly even healthier for you?
What if the “eggs” in this product were produced with plant-based ingredients instead of being laid by a chicken?
Plant-based egg substitutes are nothing new. There have been a number of plant-based mayonnaises, dressings and powdered egg replacers on the market for years now. But they didn’t have people like Bill Gates and Paypal’s Peter Thiel backing them. One of the new companies entering the egg replacement market does: Hampton Creek Foods, which is now producing plant-based products like “Beyond Eggs” and “Just Mayo.”
While the company is still working to produce one product that will fill all the perceived “egg niches,” they are in the running. And with their billionaire backers they have a good chance of doing so. Although the research to create these plant-based products may be costly, the products themselves are not.
This is good news for the conscious consumer, but it is also good news for larger companies who use eggs in their products, as using eggs replacers like Beyond Eggs will be cheaper for them. Doing so may also come with PR bonuses for the companies, such as being able to add: “No cholesterol” and “environmentally friendly” to their labels. * While I think that all animal products should be removed from our diets and lives on a purely ethical level, it is good to see more alternatives on the market today that aren’t just about making conditions seemingly “better” for animals (like the myth of “free range eggs”), but are actually taking the animals out of the equation altogether.
Hampton Creek’s chief investor Bill Gates may not be in the game for animal rights, but he does appear to be backing animal product alternatives like Beyond Eggs for a number of good reasons, including:
- The situation for farmed animals (1.1 trillion eggs laid last year  by approximately 19 billion imprisoned hens)
- The environmental impact of animal agriculture (huge amounts of water, soy, corn and other resources are fed to the imprisoned hens)
- Human health issues (eating eggs has been linked to heart disease, as well as the progression of cancer and other chronic diseases) 
So what will these new egg alternatives mean for the plight of chickens? Only time will tell, but hopefully it is a signal that we are waking up and seeing more of the ethical and environmental issues inherent in treating living, breathing, feeling animals like products.
Other companies making egg replacers and egg-free products:
- Ener-G Inc.
- Follow Your Heart
- The Vegg
- Bob’s Red Mill
* To be clear, adding egg replacer to a product doesn’t automatically make it “cruelty free,“ as we still have dairy and other such animal products to think about, as well as ingredients like chocolate and vanilla that have human rights issues associated with them.