Fake Eggs: Altruism or Egg-onomics?

Fake Eggs: Altruism or Egg-onomics?

By Maggie Louie

You may have noticed a recent surge in venture capitalist investing in companies that are developing synthetic meat products and byproducts. Many of these cite humanitarian plights as the driver but does the fake egg really hard-boil down to increased margins and global market share?

San Francisco-based startup Hampton Creek, backed by Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, and Founders Fund, has engineered a plant protein synthetic egg that aims to replace the whopping 33% of the egg market attributed to egg use as a protein ingredient in products like mayonnaise and salad dressing.

Hampton Creek is looking to break into the $6 billion global egg ingredient market, according to CEO, Josh Tetrick in his recent interview with Co-Exist

Currently, Asia accounts for 57.8% of global egg production. The International Egg Commission expects that to number will increase to 70% by 2050.With production costs on the rise around the world, synthetic eggs could be big business.

Hampton Creek‘s Beyond Eggs are now in select Whole Foods Markets and said to cost 18% less than real eggs, a reduction likely attributable to requiring zero hens and zero arable land to raise said hens.

Nevermind how it tastes on a plate with toast and test tube bacon, it’s all about the ingredients. Think about all the things we use egg in like salad dressing, mayonnaise and cookie dough; Hampton Creek certainly has.

With products in development like fake ranch mayo and “Eat the Dough” ready-made cookie dough that you can eat without fear of salmonella, it would seem that these savvy scientists may not be entirely blind to the egg-onomics BUT, that’s not to say that it can’t be both common good and darn good business. After all, wouldn’t we all love to save the world and get rich doing it?

Other egg-Ventures in synthetic food:

Beyond Meat backed by Obvious Corporation–a company founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and former Twitter VP of Product Jason Goldman–and venture capitalist powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers

LikeMeat, an EU-backed project that aims to create a respectable meat analogue, is also looking at alternatives to soy.