Hold the Yolk
Just Egg allows plant-based diners to enjoy egg dishes in all forms without the guilt of eating animals.
Prior to Just Egg hitting the market, people who led a vegan- or plant-based diet couldn’t go to a restaurant and order a simple scramble or omelet or other dishes containing eggs produced by a chicken. The product comprises mung bean protein isolate with canola oil and other ingredients. It scrambles up and tastes like eggs, but it is cholesterol- and dairy free and has almost as much protein as a chicken egg. But it’s made from plants.
“Today’s mindful consumers are looking for healthier alternatives to whole eggs that actually taste like eggs,” says Steve Heeley, CEO of plant-based, fast-casual chain Veggie Grill. “Our guests have been asking for breakfast and brunch items for a while, and until we discovered Just Egg, we did not have a great 100 percent plant-based product for egg-based menu items.”
At Silver Diner, a 30-year-old, 17-unit chain of chef-driven diners in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, executive chef and co-founder Ype Von Hengst has had vegan and vegetarian items on the menu, but added a plant-based menu in 2018 to accommodate more people eating that way. Silver Diner will sell 3,000 traditional eggs Benedicts a month; since adding a Just Egg Benedict, which also includes roasted tomatoes, fresh spinach and tempeh bacon for a smoky flavor, they sell about 50 percent as many. For Von Hengst, it signals a demand from his customers and a reason to experiment with Just Egg in other dishes.
“It has a beautiful, silky flavor, the same color and texture [as chicken eggs],” Von Hengst says. “I’ve prepared them side by side with a little oil on the flat top and people at first glance can’t taste the difference. We make omelets, eggs—you can get really creative. It can be a total egg replacement.”
As a ready-made product, Just Egg can add more to the bottom line than traditional eggs, but for some operators, the cost is justified.
“They are more expensive than real eggs,” says Justin Truax, creative director of Michigan-based restaurants Anna’s House. “However, the trade-off is more than worth it. It lets us completely reimagine our vegan menu and add a wide variety of unique dishes.”
So, if you have numerous egg dishes on your menu, whether that’s scrambles and omelets, quiche, pad Thai, breakfast burritos or the Middle Eastern favorite shakshuka, and you have customers asking for plant-based options, now you can start experimenting and truly have something for everyone.