After a tumultuous year of reported financial losses and executive departures, the food startup Hampton Creek is trying to get back on track by unveiling eggless scrambled eggs — a product years in the works — along with a new infusion of investment money.
The San Francisco–based company, best known for its vegan condiments and cookie dough, revealed Just Scramble on Thursday. It’s a yellow liquid that fluffs like an egg in a frying pan, but is largely made from mung bean. While it’s not the first vegan scrambled egg out there, Hampton Creek says it’s the best.
Hampton Creek plans to roll out Just Scramble in restaurants, starting with a handful this year in San Francisco, and eventually to food-service distributors and grocery stores. The company is betting that customers will like the sustainability factor: It’s free of antibiotics and cholesterol, doesn’t risk contamination from things like salmonella and avian flu, requires less water, and emits fewer carbon emissions than normal eggs.
But it also looks, tastes, and scrambles like a regular old egg — and so, at least in theory, customers won’t have to sacrifice flavor and texture for the good of the environment. One challenge, though, will be whether they’ll be willing to pay for its relatively steep price. Conventional eggs cost an average of $1.05 by the dozen. In contrast, Just Scramble’s price is on par with a dozen free-range eggs, between $4 and $6, according to Tetrick.
“It’s not a product just for conscious consumers,” CEO Josh Tetrick told reporters at a breakfast preview on Thursday. “It’s not a product just for people who care about the environment or animal welfare. It’s something for everyone.”
There aren’t many options for people, vegan or otherwise, who crave non-egg eggs. In a review of powdered vegan eggs made by the company Follow Your Heart, a Bon Appetit writer did not approve. “With the watery texture and lack of taste, it reminds me of a wet newspaper blowing in the wind, running across any puddle in its way, hoping to find its home in a larger mound of uncollected trash,” he wrote.
Just Scramble tastes much better than that. Poured into a skillet, the liquid sizzled and congealed into bite-sized clumps as a chef stirred it around. The whole process took about 30 seconds. It tasted pretty much like one would expect — fluffy yet dense, light, and chewy — although the clumps were perhaps a bit clumpier than a regular scramble.