Science

First chicken-free egg white product reaches US markets

First chicken-free egg white p...
The macarons were made using a new egg white substitute created using yeast engineered to produce the same proteins naturally found in egg whites from chicken eggs
The macarons were made using a new egg white substitute created using yeast engineered to produce the same proteins naturally found in egg whites from chicken eggs
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The macarons were made using a new egg white substitute created using yeast engineered to produce the same proteins naturally found in egg whites from chicken eggs
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The macarons were made using a new egg white substitute created using yeast engineered to produce the same proteins naturally found in egg whites from chicken eggs

One of the first products made using a novel animal-free egg white is now available in the United States. The unique macarons are the first to be made with an egg white protein that comes from engineered yeast, designed to be indistinguishable from what is found in chicken eggs.

The Every Company, founded in 2014 under the name Clara Foods, is one of several food technology companies working to create real animal-free proteins using a method called precision fermentation. The idea behind the process is to break down certain animal products, such as milk and eggs, to their molecular components and then use microorganisms to produce those components.

Earlier this year the first cow-free dairy milk using this method hit supermarket shelves in the United States. That product was created using whey proteins from engineered fungus, while other companies are working on similar dairy products using engineered yeast to produce the desired milk proteins.

The Every Company has spent the last few years focusing on using the same technique to produce chicken-free egg whites, working with engineered yeast to produce proteins found in egg whites. The company has not disclosed the specific combination of proteins used to create its final egg white product, however it is likely ovalbumin – the primary protein component in egg whites – plays a strong role in the recipe.

Arturo Elizondo, CEO of Every Company, said the new egg white product functions exactly like a chicken-derived egg white. It whips, aerates and bakes in ways identical to traditional egg whites, and the company has teamed up with San Francisco-based bakery Chantal Guillon to launch the product in a line of iconic French macarons.

“The egg white is one of the crown jewels of the food industry, known for its unique functional properties that make it almost impossible to replace – until today,” said Elizondo. “Today is also the first time consumers anywhere in the U.S. can get a taste of EVERY EggWhite™ and the fruit of seven years of deep R&D.”

The chicken-free egg white is the third animal-free product created by the Every Company. Its first fully commercialized product was an animal-free pepsin, launched in early 2021.

Pepsin is an enzyme used in hundreds of commercial food products, most notably as an element in pharmaceutical capsules. The enzyme is most commonly sourced from pig stomach lining. The Every Company's version of pepsin allows for vegan-friendly pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The Every Company is not the first to explore precision fermentation of egg white proteins. Earlier this year a team of researchers from the University of Finland revealed the successful production of ovalbumin from engineered fungus. The researchers estimated manufacturing egg proteins this way could cut greenhouse gas emissions by half compared to the current environmental impact of chicken farming.

Plenty more work will be needed to scale up the production of these kinds of animal-free proteins, but Elizondo is optimistic precision fermentation methods will transform how we manufacture food.

“Our proteins are real, nature-equivalent animal proteins (not plant-based or cell-based) made without using a single animal,” Elizondo said. “The ability of precision fermentation technology to replace the proteins of today is still in its infancy. We believe this technology will truly transform our food system, and consequently, our world.”

Source: The Every Company

7 comments
7 comments
Spud Murphy
Great stuff, would love to see the end of the egg, dairy and beef industries, indeed all animal exploitation industries. Humans have to evolve past being violent apes at some stage...
mattlass
@ Spud,
Hear1 Hear! It's a fallacy that we need huge amounts of protein. A plant-based diet provides more than enough to thrive. I tell all of my friends and acquaintences, many of them with serious health issues, to change their eating habits. Spread the word !
Doug Lough
Why is it that vegan products still feel the need to mimic animal products? Is it a marketing thing? Its not an egg or egg white so dont pretend that it is. You dont see animal products with an identity crisis, You dont see a steak asking to be identified as a veggie cake, you dont see a chicken identifying as a tofu casserole. whatever vegan products are let them stand on their own identity.
TomLeeM
I think this is good news for those who are unable to eat / digest eggs. I have read of other products that could be used instead of eggs. I think this is also good news for those who have decided to not eat anything from animals or animal based.

since I don't have a problem eating eggs or parts of eggs, I have no real interest in an egg substitute. While I don't mind people not eating animal byproducts, I do mind people who don't eat it forcing me to not eat it either.
ljaques
I'd much rather eat meat, drink milk, and eat eggs than consume GMO products, thankyouverymuch.
@Doug, yeah, for 50 years, I've laughed every time I heard about a new veg/vegan product resembling some sort of meat come out.
P.S: Hush and go eat your kale, Spud.
Rebecca Libauskas
This is excellent news. Some people like egg whites in cooking and baking, so this will be a great swap. Although, there are already egg replacement products on the market. Having more options can help us shift away to a more ethical, sustainable food system. The more than 300 million chickens used each year for their eggs endure a gruesome living hell. Hens in egg factories have a large portion of their beaks cut off with a burning-hot blade within hours or days of birth. No painkillers are used. Male chicks are worthless to the egg industry, so every year, millions of them are suffocated or thrown into high-speed grinders, called “macerators,” while they are still alive. Products like these will help to stop this carnage. And for the other commenters asking why vegans want swaps, it's so that non-vegans can have a humane option, too. :)
undrgrndgirl
franken food at it's best! is the nutritional profile the same? are they really bio-equivalent? are the processes really sustainable? or is this more green-washing?
will the packaging be clearly labeled so i don't buy any of it.