Plant-based ‘world’s first eggs’ served by an Israeli food tech startup

An Israeli food tech start-up is serving up what it calls the world’s first plant-based poached and fried eggs (also known as sunny eggs), aiming to debut in more American restaurants. later this year after a $5 million seed round.

Yo! Egg (also Yo-Egg) was founded in 2019, developing an egg-free product that produces poached, fried “eggs, with the equivalent of runny egg whites and yolks but without the cholesterol, the company says. . It uses a blend of plant proteins, water, sunflower oil, soybeans, flour, “and a few simpler ingredients”, all 100% vegan, to make its “whole egg” product.

The startup, based in the northern town of Pardes Hanna, operates in a global vegan egg market that is expected to reach $2.6 billion in value by 2026, up from around $650 million in 2019, according to a Research and Markets of 2022.

The company is also one of many global brands, including Vegg, Just Egg, Crackd and Israeli startup Zero Egg, that already offer plant-based egg products such as egg substitutes or mixes for scrambled eggs or omelettes. .

However, Yo! Egg has focused on developing the “whole egg” experience for those who prefer the taste and texture of cooked eggs. The startup also has a line of soft-boiled “eggs” in development.

This week, it will showcase its products at the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago, one of the most important events in the American food and beverage industry, until May 24.

An Israeli breakfast with Yo! Egg’s Plant Based Fried Eggs. (Yo! Egg)

“They O! Egg team has a unique blend of extraordinary product innovation expertise and engineering talent that we believe will help our company revolutionize the way the world produces and consumes eggs,” said company CEO Eran Groner, who co-founded Yo!Egg alongside Yosefa Ben Cohen, who is CTO, and Nisim Ben Cohen, COO.

The company’s stated mission is to become “the world’s largest and most sustainable egg producer, without the chickens” while holding back “cholesterol, cruelty and climate change”.

Yo! Egg offerings are available in Israel at Benedict Restaurants, a chain that focuses on breakfast items (like Benedict Eggs), and the company said it also hopes to appear on restaurant menus in Israel. the Greater Los Angeles area by the end of this year.

The startup’s $5 million seed round was led by Kansas-based venture capital firm Stray Dog Capital and US-Israeli investment firm NFX, founded by famed investor Gigi Levy-Weiss .

“With hundreds of millions of people around the world demanding plant-based alternatives for their favorite proteins, Yo! Eggs, the first of their kind, from Egg will be a hit in restaurants nationwide,” said Levy-Weiss, who is general partner of NFX, in a statement.

The Israeli startup Yo! Egg has developed a plant-based egg alternative that looks and feels like real eggs, May 2022 (Yo! Egg)

Johnny Ream, Partner at Stray Dog Capital, said of the company, “With over 95 billion eggs consumed each year in the United States, and each egg requiring 53 gallons of water to produce, we need of a better solution.”

“Hey! Egg has developed one of the most impressive plant-based products we’ve seen to date, and we believe the product innovation and scale the company is pursuing will give them the potential to generate significant growth and impact,” said Ream.

“Our vision is to create the world’s largest egg company, not an egg alternative company, not the largest plant-based egg company, but the largest egg company without using chickens,” Groner told TechCrunch, adding that the company is launching “the world’s first plant-based sunny poached eggs.

Groner said the company would use the funds to build production and commercial operations in the United States.

herbal movements

Plant-based eggs, dairy and meat – also known as the alternative protein market – are increasingly popular options with a growing share of consumers who consider themselves vegan, vegetarian or ” flexitarians” – people who follow a predominantly plant-based diet with animal products are sometimes added. A recent poll in the United States suggests that more than half of young Americans in their twenties consider themselves flexitarians. And the number of vegans in the United States has increased by about 600% since 2014.

The Pardes-based startup Hanna, Yo! Egg is a plant-based egg alternative that looks and feels like real fried or poached eggs. (Yo! Egg)

These consumers turn to plant-based diets for a variety of reasons, including dairy allergies or sensitivities, environmental concerns, animal welfare and human rights. These issues are at the root of ethical consumerism around the world.

The global vegan food market is expected to grow from $15.77 billion in 2021 to $22.27 billion in 2025.

Alternative Protein Market

Israel’s alternative protein sector grew by around 450% in 2021 compared to the previous year, with Israeli startups in the field raising some $623 million in investments, according to the latest report from the Good Food Institute Israel ( GFI Israel). The non-profit organization seeks to promote research and innovation in food technologies.

Israel is currently home to more than 400 food technology companies, a broad area that includes nutrition, packaging, food safety, processing systems, new ingredients and alternative proteins. The latter includes plant-based substitutes for meat, dairy, and eggs; cultured dairy products, meats and seafood; insect proteins; and fermentation products and processes.

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