Israeli startup Zero Egg enters US market with b2b launch of plant-based egg replacement

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Israeli startup Zero Egg enters US market with b2b launch of plant-based egg replacement

Related tags: Zero Egg, egg replacement, plant-based egg

Following a successful launch in Israel and the Netherlands, Israeli startup Zero Egg is hoping to crack the US market with the launch of plant-based egg alternatives for CPG manufacturers and foodservice operators that it claims blows rivals out of the water in terms of taste, versatility and affordability.

EGG Basics​ from Zero Egg is designed for scrambles, omelets, quiches and egg bites; while BAKE Basics​ is designed for cakes, cookies, pancakes & waffles, pasta, mayo and dressing, reaching parts of the market that Just Egg​ has yet to crack (its mung-bean-based formula is not suitable for all baking applications, although a baking-friendly version is in the works​).

Made from a patent-pending blend of plant proteins (soy, potato, pea, chickpea) with 10-15 calories per ‘egg’ before oil is added, and no cholesterol (although conventional egg producers would observe that it doesn’t contain choline, selenium, vitamin B12 or other key nutrients in chicken eggs) both Zero Egg products come in shelf-stable powder form (users add water and oil).

This makes for more efficient safe handling and storage, said CEO Liron Nimrodi, who co-founded Zero Egg​ in 2018 at Israeli seed investor and tech incubator The Kitchen FoodTech​ Hub​.

We’ve essentially removed all of the barriers to entry’

The initial line up of branded Zero Egg b2b products – which are co-manufactured in Cookeville, Tennessee and distributed by Gordon Food Service – will be followed next year by retail products, said Nimrodi, who has raised around $3m in seed funding to date, attracting funding from Unovis Asset Management-New Crop Capital, Strauss Group-The Kitchen Hub, and Valor Siren Ventures. A Series A round will also close shortly, she said.

The North American business (with five people; who work with six team members in Israel) is led by Isabelle Francois, who spent 11 years at Whole Foods Market, most recently as VP, 365 by Whole Foods, and was impressed by Zero Egg’s functional qualities and sustainability credentials.

“We believe Zero Egg is going to be a gamechanger for the category because there are no other plant-based egg solutions that do it all, that can deliver on taste, versatility – we're delivering the functionality of a whole egg - and affordability. We’ve essentially removed all of the barriers to entry.”

Allergens, food safety, consistency of price and supply

While gearing up for US market entry in the middle of a global pandemic that has significantly disrupted the food industry was “nerve-wracking​,” recent events have only intensified interest and investment in plant based eggs, meat, and dairy, claimed Francois.

"Four of the largest QSR chains in the US have launched plant-based breakfast sausages, so that opens up the breakfast category for us as consumers are looking for plant-based eggs to go with plant-based sausages.

"The high yields are also very appealing to partners. With a 2lb foodservice bag it's between 86 and 130 eggs. There are also no refrigeration costs and safety issues associated with liquid eggs or shell eggs."

For CPG manufacturers, meanwhile, said Nimrodi, it’s not just about tapping into the plant-based trend, “it’s also about avoiding allergens, food safety issues such as salmonella, and consistency of price and supply ​[conventional egg prices are notoriously volatile and subject to fluctuations caused by avian flu and other factors].

“Zero Egg has the same functionality plus it’s a stable product with a long​ [12-month] shelf-life.”

Continuous improvement

While plant-based eggs don’t contain some of the key nutrients in conventional eggs such as choline, said Nimrodi, “The team is working on a roadmap to improve all of the attributes including the nutritionals.”

Zero Egg logo

Ingredients, Zero Egg EGG BASICS​ : ​Soy protein isolate, pea flour, cellulose fibers, dried yeast, gellan gum, modified cellulose, chickpea protein powder, salt, sugar, agar-agar, potato protein powder, turmeric extract

(For scrambles, omelets, frittatas, quiches, egg bites, cookies, sauces etc.)

Ingredients, Zero Egg BAKE BASICS​: ​Soy protein isolate, pea flour, agar-agar, powdered cellulose, dried yeast, modified cellulose, chickpea protein powder, salt, sugar, gellan gum, potato protein powder, turmeric extract

(For cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, pancakes, waffles, pasta, custards etc.)

Folded-Just-Egg-Pic

Ingredients, Just Egg​: ​Water, mung bean protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, contains less than 2% of dehydrated onion, gellan gum, natural carrot extractives (color), natural flavors, natural turmeric extractives (color), potassium citrate, salt, soy lecithin, sugar, tapioca syrup, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, transglutaminase, nisin (preservative).

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