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First chicken-free egg white product reaches US markets

First chicken-free egg white product reaches US markets

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.”

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