Plant-based egg separates yolk and white

By Augustus Bambridge-Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

The company aims to develop a raw egg for retail. Image Source: Getty Images/vikif
The company aims to develop a raw egg for retail. Image Source: Getty Images/vikif

Related tags Egg plant-based egg egg alternatives Pea protein fava beans Sweet potato

Already producing a plant-based egg alternative with separated yolk and white, Neggst plans to develop a raw egg for retail which may, eventually, have a shell.

Unlike plant-based meat and dairy, egg alternatives do not have a strong foothold in the vegan substitutes market. While some egg alternatives do exist – such as cultivated egg Every Co​ and several plant-based eggs which can be used as an ingredient – the category hasn’t quite stuck in the same way as its meat and dairy brethren.

Unlike most previous plant-based eggs, German start-up Neggst separates the white and yolk with its products. Next, Neggst plans to go for the biggest egg market of all and develop a raw egg for retail. Should consumers be eggcited?

How are the products produced?

Neggst has a number of different products. Sunny-side Neggst and poached Neggst resemble the products of their namesakes. A Neggst patty resembles, in shape a burger, but in appearance an egg. Neggst bites are the plant-based alternatives to egg bites.

The start-up uses different production methods between its products. “[For] some products like the Neggst patty and the Poached Neggst, we are using sous-vide preparation: The two liquids (egg white and egg yolk) are put into a mould which is then sealed and put through the oven. Thus, you get a pre-cooked product with very good shelf life,” Andreas Bork, co-CEO at Neggst, told FoodNavigator.

“Other products such as the Sunny Side Up will be produced in individual pans that go through an oven. For [this product] we have developed a membrane around the egg yolk; thus, the egg yolk and the egg white stay separate during the cooking/frying process.

Precision fermentation vs. hens' eggs

A study which compared​ the sustainability credentials of real eggs with that of an egg white alternative produced by precision fermentation found that land use is reduced by nearly 90% and greenhouse gasses by between 31% and 55% by using the alternative.

“At the end the products are taken off the line and sent through a shock freezer. For both production methods we produce an egg white liquid and an egg yolk liquid.”

While Neggst conducts the R&D to develop the egg substitute, egg manufacturer Ovofit provides greater production capacity through which it tests its products.

“We have to test in their factory. They're quite open to testing. We can test with small batches and then once we see that it works, we can use the same lines that they're using for their large-scale egg processing production,” Bork told us.

“Many smaller start-ups struggle with getting the right production partner. We are actually quite lucky that we have found somebody who is really interested in the category.”

2022-08-25 Neggst83278
Neggst's product. Image Source: Neggst

What is the egg composed of?

Neggst uses fava bean, pea and sweet potato protein, 90% of which is sourced in Europe, with a small amount sourced from the US.

The product, suggested Bork, has a lot to offer nutritionally. For example, according to him, Neggst’s products score A on Nutri-Score (many chickens’ eggs score B) due to their low levels of saturated fat. Furthermore, they contain fibre that the chicken egg does not.

In terms of other nutrients, such as B12 and protein, the company strives towards parity with hens’ eggs. “We have B12 in there. At the moment, depending on the product, we have roughly 50% of the protein content of a chicken egg.

Plant-based egg as an ingredient

Plant-based egg alternatives have traditionally been used as an ingredient. An analysis of 15 such alternatives​ by the organisation ProVeg International looked at which egg alternatives worked best as a substitute for real egg in baking.  

“Our goal is to achieve at least the same as a chicken egg in terms of protein, because we know that many people use eggs as a key source of protein and so we also want to match this going forward.”

Will the company produce a raw egg?

Neggst currently operates mainly in food service but plans to expand into retail. For this purpose, it is currently developing a plant-based raw egg, one which can accurately mirror the raw eggs purchased by consumers in supermarkets.

At first, the company plans the launch the product in a container. “Just imagine a yoghurt cup: so you just open the cup and you put the product in the pan.” But eventually, it aims to develop a shell to house the raw egg substitute.

Before the shell can be developed, the company wants to improve the shelf-life of its product. “The challenges at the moment are more [about] getting a stable product that has eight weeks shelf life. We are already capable of doing this and we're going towards 12 weeks. We’re developing frozen versions, so then you have even longer shelf life. But for the raw egg that's the main challenge.”

It is important to develop the raw product, Bork suggested, because this is from where most egg consumption is.

“In retail, 95% of eggs are raw and so far, nobody has reproduced the raw egg. This is what we what we are striving for,” Bork told us.

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