Longtime veteran of the poultry and egg industry, Morten “Egg Man” Ernst, has partnered with Bay Area vegan food company JUST (formerly known as Hampton Creek) to upscale Just Scramble partnerships with “major egg companies.”
Ernst is “representing us this week at the International Egg Commission’s annual business meeting in London, which will surely raise eyebrows among his peers,” the brand notes. He will be attending a unique conference hosted by the only organization in the world to represent the egg industry.
“Morten has spent his entire life in the poultry world — processing, importing and exporting around the globe, setting up and partnering in some of the first egg processing factories in India and China. In addition to his work with JUST, he serves as CEO of Ovotec Limited in Hong Kong, a consulting and marketing company active in the global egg industry,” adds JUST.
JUST launched its vegan egg product, Just Scramble, last year. The company was already well-known for disrupting the mayonnaise industry with an egg-free version of mayonnaise, and Just Scramble is poised to follow a similar fate.
According to Statista, the traditional egg industry within the U.S. produces $13.5 billion worth of eggs each year. As JUST notes, this represents “one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the global food system.” More than one trillion eggs were produced last year.
Chicken eggs are popular with health and fitness-conscious consumers as they are high in protein. However, so is the mung-bean-based Just Scramble. Yet unlike a traditional plate of scrambled eggs, the JUST product contains zero cholesterol and requires a significantly smaller amount of water to produce; and it emits far fewer carbon emissions than the egg industry. Vegan eggs also do not require the use of any live chickens; egg-laying hens suffer some of the most egregious cruelty of any farm animals.
“Recent research has found that 40% of millennials are embracing meat alternatives and a more plant-centric way of eating,” Ernst wrote in a recent op-ed for Food Dive. “Whether the motivation stems from a health or allergen standpoint, from religious beliefs, or from animal welfare or sustainability concerns, times (and appetites) are certainly changing. This trend is also an indication of broader changes occurring in food consumption habits, and we in the food industry need to take notice and adapt.”
JUST’s vision isn’t just to upend the egg market. It’s using state-of-the-art food tech to address hunger issues in the developing world with sustainable vegan products. It also plans to be the first food company to bring meat grown through cellular agriculture to market — recreating animal products from a few animal cells rather than the whole animal. Further, the company most recently brought its Just Scramble to Asia. “If we were starting the business from scratch,” JUST founder Josh Tetrick recently told Foodnavigator-Asia, “we’d probably start in Asia.”
“Why shouldn’t the egg industry follow suit and help reach parts of the population who, for one reason or another, can’t or won’t consume egg products?” Ernst asks. “I believe a joint effort is needed between novel and traditional approaches to feed the growing population sustainably while meeting variable consumption requirements across the globe.”
Image Credit: JUST | Wikimedia Commons