Veg egg! In a good news for vegetarians, a US company says it is developing nutritious eggs from plant materials as substitutes for chicken eggs.
For decades, egg substitutes of various types have been around, however, more scientific methods could finally produce new products that actually taste good, said Josh Tetrick, CEO of Hampton Creek Foods, a company based in San Francisco, California, that is developing plant-based egg substitutes.
People have come up with egg and meat alternatives, with decidedly mixed results.
But only 8 per cent of plant species have been explored for food alternatives, so there could be many others that would work to replace eggs, Tetrick said.
To achieve better results, Tetrick’s company is deconstructing the egg systematically, ‘LiveScience’ reported.
Eggs have some amazing properties, such as the ability to enable oil and water-based foods to mix permanently. So the company is analysing hundreds of different plant-based compounds to determine how well they emulsify.
Scientists are making hundreds of ‘microcakes’ with candidate replacements in test tubes in order to replace eggs in baked goods. They are also analysing the protein content and molecular weight of many different compounds to make sure they can replace the nutritional benefits of eggs.
Hampton Creek Foods, so far, has created a powdered egg product for baked goods. It was convincing enough that billionaire Bill Gates tried a muffin and couldn’t tell the difference, the report said.
The company’s next step is to make a satisfying scrambled egg. They have already found a plant from Asia that coagulates, or turns solid, with heat, the process that scrambles the eggs.
According to Tetrick, production of eggs and other livestock is environmentally taxing. Livestock consume more food than it would take to feed the 1.3 billion people who go to bed hungry every night, and are responsible for 51 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions due to flatulence and land needed to produce their food, he said.