Many vegans have complained of the “vegan tax,” the extra money we pay for plant-based alternatives to milk and meat. But suddenly, plant-based eggs have busted through this price barrier, falling below the price of chicken eggs.
Through a combination of inflation and an avian flu, the price of “shell eggs,” as they’re called in the industry, were up 81% at the end of 2022, as compared to a year before. It cost almost a dollar more for a carton of real eggs than for the plant-based equivalent. Consumers responded by trying vegan eggs.
The California startup Eat Just Inc., maker of mung bean-based Just Egg, is a big winner in this shift. The brand accounts for 99% of sales in the liquid vegan egg category, a $30 million market in the U.S. That’s only 0.13% of total egg sales, but still a respectable sum.
“We’ve invested a lot of time and energy in making our products better, expanding distribution in retail and foodservice and working to introduce millions of new people to the idea that an egg can come from a plant,” said Eat Just Chief Executive Officer Josh Tetrick, as reported by Bloomberg. “All of it is driving growth and it’s being amplified at this moment in time.”
Eat Just is doing much of that amplifying. It recently ran a full-page ad in the New York Times proclaiming, “Plants don’t get the flu.” If you think about that for just a second, you’ll remember that plants are prone to all kinds of diseases and blights, but it’s still catchy.
The faux egg company promotes its product as healthy for the eater, cholesterol-free and better for the environment. According to Eat Just, the company has saved about 10.9 billion gallons of water and avoided 16,135 acres of land use by turning mung beans into eggs rather than relying on chickens. Eat Just also takes credit for saving us from 52.3 million kilograms of emissions.
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