EUROPE- Eat Just is set to launch its plant-based egg product dubbed Just Egg in Europe following the European Food Safety Authority’s approval of a key ingredient used in the product’s formulation.
Just Egg’s key ingredient, mung bean protein, is isolated from dry mung bean seeds in a sequence of processing steps which produce a protein powder made up of ~85 % protein, 3-4% fat, and 3-5.5% moisture.
EFSA in a scientific opinion publication noted that the protein powder extracted from seeds of the Vigna radiata – or mung bean – plant is ‘not nutritionally disadvantageous’ and is safe under the proposed conditions and use levels.
The authority further observed that mung beans are already widely consumed in Asia. In India, for instance, mung beans are used across a variety of applications in sweet and savoury items such as snacks, while in other parts of Asia they are used in cakes, noodles and soups.
The Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) also noted that, to a lesser extent, mung beans are also eaten as fresh mung bean sprouts in Europe.
EFSA, however, noted that the mung bean protein is structurally related to seed storage proteins in other legumes, such as soy, lupin, and pea, and could therefore potentially trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to soybeans, peanuts, lupin, and birch pollen.
Just Egg heads to Europe
The milestone sets the groundwork for an initial launch of JUST Egg in 2022 after the European Commission concludes its review, according to a press release sent by the San Francisco, California-based startup.
“Bringing JUST Egg to Europe, and to millions of consumers who are choosing a healthier, more sustainable approach to eating, will be one of the most important milestones for our company,” Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, said in a statement.
“I appreciate the hard work of our team and, most importantly, the thoughtfulness and rigor of the EFSA panel that led to this historic safety approval.”
The original target date for a European launch was 2021, with the company saying it would sell its products first in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Reasons for the delay have not been given at this time, and it is unclear if those markets are still the ones in which Eat Just will start selling once it gets the green light for Europe.
Over the last year or so, Eat Just has aggressively expanded the number of markets for JUST Egg. Besides the US, the products are now available nationwide across Canada.
Last month, the company entered the African market for the first time, launching its mung bean-based JUST Egg Folded in South Africa in partnership with Infinite Foods.
The frozen product will be rolling out in both retail and foodservice channels, as well as Infinite Foods’ e-commerce platform.
In Asia, Eat Just is building a production facility in Singapore so that it can serve more markets across the continent. JUST Egg is already available in South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, and mainland China.
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