Eggmented Reality: ‘Everyone wants to get rid of methylcellulose’
Eggmented Reality is a precision fermentation company identifying proteins that can deliver specific functionality such as gelation or binding, and then producing them in host microorganisms, said CEO and co-founder Jonathan Rathauser.
“Food manufacturers have challenges in delivering the functionality that they're used to without animal proteins, whether that's gelling, binding, foaming or stretching, and we’re using bioinformatics to search for functionality, so we'll take the genetic code from anywhere insert it into our host microorganisms, and produce a protein with that functionality.
“Our first product is an egg and methylcellulose functional alternative. We were established in February of this year, and since then, we've already demonstrated improved functionality including irreversible gelation."
He added: “We're speaking with bakers who need a better gelling and foaming ability and we're speaking with meatball makers, the gold standard of gelation and binding, but everyone wants to get rid of methylcellulose.
“Fermentation is an expensive technology, so our strategy is not to compete one to one on commodities. We are pursuing superior functionality so we can use less of an ingredient to achieve functional parity, enabling premium positioning or cost competitiveness.”
Ask about labeling and regulatory issues and whether the firm is looking at new to the world proteins, he said: “Our current strategy is to focus only on naturally occurring proteins that are known to the food system, at least for our first few products.”
So how will the first product - the methylcellulose replacer – be labeled?
“The protein itself would be listed although we’re not talking about what it is [yet]," he said. "But it’s a vegan, non genetically modified ingredient.”