From the egg case: Is the plant-based Just Scramble egg all it's cracked up to be?

 
There are some exciting up and coming alternatives to the resource-intensive chicken egg. Photo: modernfarmer.com

There are some exciting up and coming alternatives to the resource-intensive chicken egg. Photo: modernfarmer.com

Reporter: Hayley Davis
Location: Berkeley, California
Product: Just Scramble, by Hampton Creek
What she said: I was blown away by the texture of Just Scramble.

The conversation around humanely-raised eggs has been going on for over ten years and consumer demand for ethical eggs has only increased. Yet while more people recognize the environmental and ethical costs of egg-production, few are considering taking chickens completely out of the equation. 

The few food producers who have considered the value of a chickenless egg have focused on products typically made with flours, starches, ground seeds, or ground beans that can only be used for baking. This means consumers turned off by the horrible living conditions for chickens in factory farms have been left with little more than tofu to scramble. Until now.

The Just Scramble by Hampton Creek makes a convincing scrambled egg substitute.

The Just Scramble by Hampton Creek makes a convincing scrambled egg substitute.

Hampton Creek, a food innovation company in the Bay Area, has been working on a new egg replacer it calls Just Scramble.  The egg-like liquid is made using mung beans, “a 4,400-year-old legume... that magically scrambles like an egg.”  To test their new product, Hampton Creek rolled it out recently to a single restaurant, Flore, which just happens to be in San Francisco. I took a quick trip across the bay to try it for myself.

I was blown away by the texture of Just Scramble. It truly looks and feels like fluffy scrambled eggs. I was also happy with the taste, although even Hampton Creek admits it’s not exactly like the real thing. As such, the company hopes to use this version of Just Scramble in breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Though the whole meal cost $14, a little more than I'm used to paying for eggs, it was delicious, filling, and unique, and I highly recommend it.

This vegan-friendly menu item is available at Flore in San Francisco and will be rolling out to other restaurants and other stores in the Bay Area and elsewhere this year.

This vegan-friendly menu item is available at Flore in San Francisco and will be rolling out to other restaurants and other stores in the Bay Area and elsewhere this year.

And pretty soon, trying Just Scramble won’t require a trip to San Francisco; Hampton Creek plans to offer it nationally next year. Given the product takes 65 percent less water to produce than real eggs, according to the company, and emits 24 percent fewer greenhouse gases, Bon Appetit Management Co is considering using it to stock the cafeterias it runs at companies and schools.

Hampton Creek isn’t the only one with a plant-based egg product. VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart has just hit the market after five long years in R&D. It’s made from an ingredient derived from algae, which contain high levels of lipids and micronutrients. You can bake with it or whip up scrambled eggs and omelettes.  Although no stores in Berkeley carry the VeganEgg, you can check the store locator on its website.  Or, just order it on Amazon.

Takeaway: The egg substitute market is weak but gaining strength, as more consumers show their support for a more sustainable food system. To support alternative eggs, shop the VeganEgg and Just Scramble, or use this guide to find the most humanely raised eggs on the market.

We've put together a chart that highlights meatless burgers we love, the ETA for clean meat and clean milk (real meat and milk without the animal), and suggestions for meatless chicken, turkey, and dairy-free cheese and milk. Definitely worth a visit.