Under the deal, the scramble will be produced and distributed by Eurovo and sold alongside its conventional egg brands such as le Naturelle, Maia, Novissime, and Nonna Anita. It will be available for chefs and foodservice professionals through Eurovo Service.
One of the first - but most challenging - products JUST founder Josh Tetrick started working on at the San Francisco-based firm four years ago, Just Egg is made from water, mung bean protein isolate and canola oil, and is designed to look, cook, and taste, just like scrambled egg.
Just Egg, which has just rolled out in Veggie Grill restaurants in the US, has also secured approvals at a raft of US retailers including Fresh Thyme and Wegmans, and will be expanded across Asia after a successful launch in Hong Kong earlier this year. But the deal with Eurovo Group – which has operations in Italy, Spain, France, Poland and Romania - is a significant milestone, head of communications Andrew Noyes told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We plan to supply primary ingredients to Eurovo [JUST sources its mung beans from Asia and Africa] they’ll be doing downstream manufacturing of the product and distributing it across Europe. (Watch a video of what that downstream manufacturing looks like).
Asked whether there is a ready market for the other components in mung beans aside from protein – which is often a key factor in determining the viable of plant protein sources – he said: “Starch in particular is a byproduct of our process that we are working on commercializing.”
Asked about the potential of mung bean protein isolate as a standalone ingredient (Josh Tetrick told us last August that he had “signed two term sheets with a couple of the biggest CPG companies in the world to enable them to use this mung bean protein isolate as an ingredient system in their products”) Noyes said: “The company continues to be in discussions with those CPG companies and others.”
“Our alliance with JUST fits into an innovation and sustainability strategy that began more than 20 years ago with Eurovo Group’s investments in alternative farming of cage-free, free-range and organic eggs and egg products, as well as an antibiotic-free egg and egg products portfolio, that positioned us as an industry standard-bearer in response to animal welfare practices and demand patterns of our customers.” Siro Lionello, president, Eurovo Group
Ingredients, Just Egg: Water, mung bean protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, contains less than 2% of calcium citrate, enzyme, gellan gum, natural carrot extractives (color), natural flavors, natural turmeric extractives (color), onion puree, salt, soy lecithin, sugar, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, preservative (nisin, potassium sorbate).
Mung bean protein
Mung bean protein has potential applications in everything from egg substitutes to pasta and ice cream, says JUST, which received a 'no questions' letter from the FDA last summer responding to its determination that its proprietary mung bean protein isolate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
According to the GRAS determination the protein isolate is intended for use “as a direct protein replacement of animal- or vegetable-based protein in a variety of conventional food and beverage products across multiple categories.”
Use levels range “from 3% [in a breakfast cereal] to 90% [in a powdered protein product] w/w of the final product,” added JUST Inc, which listed possible applications areas including pasta, extruded snacks, bars, crackers, fermented beverages, dairy alternatives, breakfast cereals and dips as well as egg analogs.
While mung beans contain anti-nutritional factors including tannins, phytic acid, and protease inhibitors, these are partially or completely removed or degraded during processing steps such as dehulling, germination, soaking, and heating, said the firm.
Read more about mung bean protein HERE.
Available to foodservice operators in a liquid form and as a baked patty, Just Egg is currently sold in Veggie Grill and other restaurants in the US and in Hong Kong, and will also be sold in bottles next to regular liquid egg at retailers including Wegman’s, Fresh Thyme, and Gelson’s Markets, JUST head of communications Andrew Noyes told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We’re talking with a number of existing and potential retail and foodservice partners about carrying Just Egg… Our product development team has worked for more than four years to arrive at the current version of Just Egg and, as with all of our products, we’re going to keep improving it. Just Egg liquid is perfect for scrambles and omlettes and Just Egg patty is ideal for breakfast sandwiches and wraps. Just Egg (liquid) cooks in a pan the same way a chef would cook a conventional chicken egg. No extra steps needed.”