Silicon Valley foodtech startup, JUST, has announced plans to roll out their innovative vegan egg product in mainland China through a multi-channel approach in the coming months. JUST Egg, made from mung beans and free of antibiotics and cholesterol, will make its way onto retail shelves, e-commerce and foodservice. Specialty supermarket retailers City Super, Alibaba-owned Hema, popular business-to-consumer platforms Tmall and JD, and healthy restaurant chain, Shanghai-based Hunter Gatherer, have all signed on as partners. Prior to, the award-winning food manufacturing company marked their international foray into Asia last year by way of Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.
According to FoodNavigator-Asia, the Li Ka-shing backed company will first target Chinese consumers in metropolitan cities like Beijing and Shanghai and filter through the rest of the country within the next three years. “Food security is so critical in China and we really think that it is our opportunity for China to not only see itself in a more self-sufficient way, but also to create an entirely new industry,” JUST CEO, Josh Tetrick said in a statement. “Right now, food requires so much land, so much water and egg production requires billions of chickens. We can do it different in a way that’s simple and that’s better for the environment.” As the largest egg producer in the world, China accounts for over 35% of worldwide egg production. While the demand for protein is increasing, many people are recognizing the value of a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Vegan food and beverage companies have more than doubled in the past five years in Shanghai alone.
As the vegan movement continues to proliferate and become more prevalent in Chinese society, the introduction of JUST Egg in the mainland market is prime for its cell-cultured chicken nugget. The company hopes to make a small-scale commercial meat sale somewhere in Asia soon. Made from unmodified animal cells, the cruelty-free technology is processed similar to brewing beer or yeast grown for bread making. The company made headlines last year after joining forces with Japanese beef producer, Toriyama, to create lab-grown Wagyu beef from cultures of Akagi cattle in Gunma Prefecture.
Image courtesy of JUST
Ed. Note: This article was updated on March 13 to reflect new information about launch dates from JUST.