Industry experts are calling for baked-goods manufacturers to replace animal eggs with vegan alternatives to protect against diseases imminent in the egg industry and cut production costs during a time when consumers are looking for allergen-free product labels. “Recent salmonella outbreaks and egg recalls have also increased demand for egg replacers in the bakery segment,” Kathy Sargent, strategic innovation director of the bakery department for bio-ingredient company Corbion Sargent, told Food Business News. Sargent pointed to the development of “aquafaba” (brine from beans and/or legumes—primarily chickpeas) as a viable egg-white replacer in baked goods and condiments. Nesh Zalesny, technical sales manager at biotechnology company Fiberstar, agrees with Sargent’s notion that plant-based egg replacers are vital in reducing production costs of baked goods and safeguarding companies against losses incurred in the volatile animal egg industry. “There are many industry experts saying the next avian flu bout is not a matter of if but when,” Zalesny said. “Many of the larger scale bakeries have egg reduction as back-burner projects to mitigate risk for this reason.” During the 2015 bird-flu outbreak in the United States, many companies turned to vegan alternatives when egg prices skyrocketed, including retailer 7-Eleven which replaced all of its mayonnaise with egg-less JUST Mayo—made by food technology startup JUST. In 2017, JUST debuted mung bean-based JUST Egg, which outsold animal-based Egg Beaters in the liquid egg category at a major retailer only one week after its debut on store shelves.  

Photo courtesy of JUST

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