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Plant-based eggs are coming to Canadian freezer sections

Made from mung beans rather than hatched by a hen, Silicon Valley-based food company Eat JUST, Inc. is bringing its plant-based egg to Canada this fall. The folded scramble — known as JUST Egg in the U.S., where it launched in April — will be sold as JUST Plant Egg in Canadian stores.

Whole Foods Market locations in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria, and more than 100 Walmart stores across the country will be the first to carry the product for a recommended retail price of $6.99, JUST announced. Sold in a four-pack in the freezer section, the product is pre-cooked and designed to be reheated in a toaster, microwave, oven or in a frying pan on the stovetop. The suggested uses include anything you would ordinarily scramble eggs for: breakfast sandwiches, wraps and burritos, stir-fries, grain bowls and fried rice.

The inspiration for the fold, says Josh Tetrick, JUST co-founder and CEO, was to set the plant-based egg apart from typical frozen breakfast sandwiches. “Growing up in the South, my mom used to fold eggs for me and I always loved the texture,” he says.

Since the folded plant-based egg launched in the U.S. roughly 90 days ago, it’s become the bestselling frozen breakfast food at a top-five retailer — “breaking the waffle monopoly” — and the number one frozen breakfast entrée among natural, organic and specialty products.

In terms of nutrition, JUST’s plant-based egg, which gets its yolk-like colour from turmeric, is comparable in protein to a standard egg: A chicken egg generally contains six or seven grams of protein; the JUST Plant Egg has seven. It’s cholesterol-free and has 100 calories to a chicken egg’s 80, and seven grams of fat (0.5g of which is saturated fat) to a conventional egg’s five grams (1.5g of which is saturated).

The most significant difference between the JUST Plant Egg and a poultry egg, says Toronto-based registered dietitian Amanda Li , “is the absence of essential nutrients including vitamin B12, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, choline and two antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin — all of which reside primarily in the egg yolk.”

Non-GMO Project verified and containing all-natural flavours, the Plant Egg’s ingredients — the most vital of which is mung bean protein — “have a 93 per cent smaller carbon footprint and use 86 per cent less land than conventional animal sources.”

The findings of a new survey examining dietary preferences from February to June 2020 suggest that the number of pescatarians, vegans and vegetarians in Canada are on the rise, albeit modestly. According to Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University , “Canada may have more than 600k vegans now.” In a separate survey, the lab found that if choosing between products of equal price, “47.1 per cent of Canadians would consider alternative sources of protein.”

Tetrick says Canada was a natural first choice for international expansion — primarily due to the fact that, second to the U.S., it’s their most-requested market. JUST’s original pourable version — which “is driving the greatest sales growth in the U.S. liquid egg market,” Quartz reported last summer — is also in the works for Canada. The company said it plans to introduce the product at an undetermined time, and is currently in talks with regulators.

“The mission of the company is to try to build a healthier food system as fast as we possibly can. And we’re going to do that by focusing on building technology and bringing products to people. But much more important than anything that we’re doing are individual consumers in their everyday lives, in their own families deciding that they want to be a part of creating a healthier food system too,” says Tetrick. “It’s that shift, it’s that drive, it’s that leadership that is going to change this world. And I’m just really proud that we get to bring (our products) to Canadian consumers.”

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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