The key ingredient in San Francisco, California-based Eat Just’s plant-based egg products has received approval from the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) expert panel on nutrition. The milestone sets the groundwork for an initial launch of JUST Egg in 2022 after the European Commission concludes its review, according to a press release sent to Green Queen.
Mung bean protein is the key ingredient in Eat Just’s plant-based egg products. In its published opinion, the EFSA said that mung bean protein is “safe at the proposed conditions of use,” which are in Eat Just’s liquid egg and frozen folded egg products. With this opinion JUST Egg passes the EFSA’s Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods, and Food Allergens safety assessment.
The company says it successfully collaborated with analyze & realize GmbH, a leading regulatory consulting agency specialized in natural health products, on the novel food dossier compilation and EFSA submission.
A global expansion
The EFSA report sets the stage for Eat Just to launch JUST Egg products in Europe in mid-2022, according to this week’s press release. The original target date for a European launch was 2021, with the company saying it would sell its products first in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Reasons for the delay have not been given at this time, and it is unclear if those markets are still the ones in which Eat Just will start selling once it gets the green light for Europe.
Over the last year or so, Eat Just has aggressively expanded the number of markets for JUST Egg. Besides the US, the products are now available nationwide across Canada. Last month, the company entered the African market for the first time. In Asia, Eat Just is building a production facility in Singapore so that it can serve more markets across the continent. JUST Egg is already available in South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, and mainland China.
Much of the attention for eat just over the last year has focused on the company’s GOOD Meat division, which is developing cultured meat (chicken for now) it eventually hopes to bring to retail shelves and restaurants worldwide. In 2020, Eat Just won the distinction of being the first company in the world to gain regulatory approval to sell cultured meat. Since then, it has struck partnerships with a couple of restaurants in Singapore, where its cultured chicken bites are available. More recently Eat Just announced plans to build a production facility in the MENA region.
However, as the recent global expansions for JUST Egg show, the company will continue to prioritize its plant-based protein division simultaneous to develop its cultured meat strategy.
Paving the way for Europe
According to Nielsen data on plant-based foods in Europe, retail sales of plant-based foods reached €3.6 billion in 2020, which is 28% higher than 2019 and 49% higher than 2018.
“Bringing JUST Egg to Europe, and to millions of consumers who are choosing a healthier, more sustainable approach to eating, will be one of the most important milestones for our company,” Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, said in a statement. “I appreciate the hard work of our team and, most importantly, the thoughtfulness and rigor of the EFSA panel that led to this historic safety approval.”
The company says it is also actively engaging with the UK’s Food Standards Agency on a regulatory path to market.
Lead image courtesy of Eat Just.