Precision Fermentation Egg Leader The EVERY Co: ‘Our Purpose is to Remake the Food System from Within’
5 Mins Read
Silicon Valley startup The EVERY Co, which makes precision-fermented egg proteins, recently collaborated with Colombia’s largest CPG food company. It signposts the company’s increased retail focus, which its CEO Arturo Elizondo and partnerships head Nick Toriello outline in an interview with Green Queen.
Last month, The EVERY Co announced a partnership with Grupo Nutresa, the largest FMCG food company in Colombia and one of Latin America’s most influential players in the sector. EVERY which has been operating since 2014, makes animal-free egg proteins from precision fermentation. In 2021, it introduced its EVERY protein (initially launched as ClearEgg), a nature-equivalent egg white protein that has since featured in smoothies, macarons and canned cocktails through various partnerships.
But with Nutresa, EVERY is targeting another vertical, and showcasing its ambition via a new partnership that will make use of EVERY EggWhite protein, a functional replacement for egg whites, as a binding agent in meat alternatives under Nutresa’s Zenú and Pietran brands. This is not EVERY’s first time working with a food giant: the startup has collaborated with ingredients giant Ingredion and drinks conglomerate AB InBev in the past.
EVERY says its proteins are nature-identical and allow manufacturers to avoid disease risks, price fluctuation issues, and the environmental footprint of conventional animal proteins. The EVERY EggWhite is described as a “hyperfunctional protein”, which will be leveraged by Nutresa’s formulations to deliver “next-level binding and gelation qualities” that allow analogues to resemble their traditional counterparts more closely, without the use of “overly processed ingredients”.
It’s an important aspect, given that a 2020 global survey by Ingredion found that more than half of respondents find it important for products to have a short ingredient list. Following up on this, Ingredion’s latest data revealed that 78% would spend more money on products with ‘natural’ or ‘all-natural’ packaging claims.
“We expect EVERY’s protein to solve a key need for egg white replacement in our alternative meat formulations, with additional benefits including bringing delicious, high-performing foods to consumers,” explained Oscar Alberto Ochoa González, meat R&D director at Nutresa.
While EVERY isn’t the only company working on precision fermentation eggs – Formo and Onego Bio are making progress on egg alternatives in Europe – it is by far the largest in the space, having raised over $233M after closing an oversubscribed $175M Series C fundraiser in December 2021 and an undisclosed investment by American actress Anne Hathaway.
Green Queen spoke to EVERY CEO Arturo Elizondo and partnerships head Nick Toriello, touching upon egg prices, retail focus, manufacturing abilities, and the environmental impact of its proteins compared to chicken eggs.
This interview has been edited for clarity and concision.
Green Queen: You’ve mentioned how EVERY provides stability among price fluctuations for conventional eggs – could you expand on the production cost of your EVERY EggWhite and price comparison with chicken eggs?
Arturo Elizondo: Each day that passes, we are marching down the cost curve. We’ve spent years developing our technology, and we continue to optimise. At this point in time, the next step is capturing economies of scale with dedicated manufacturing.
The good news is that there are a number of tailwinds at our backs. Our recently inked collaboration agreement with Grupo Nutresa is evidence of accelerating customer demand. This comes at a time of upward pricing pressure on conventional eggs, driven by global cage-free commitments from the world’s largest food companies, and severe and worsening egg price and supply volatility.
Considering the low cost of inputs for precision fermentation and our demonstrated progress in manufacturing scale-up – we are actively producing at manufacturing-scale fermentation runs of over 100,000 litres – this backdrop sets a clear path to positive unit economics at scale for EVERY. We are laser-focused on driving large-scale manufacturing to meet the needs of customers like Nutresa, whose products reach more than 80 countries around the world.
History supports this forecast, with precedent well established for the rapid and steep adoption of superior products from microbial fermentation such as citric acid, insulin, vitamin B2 and rennet following their introduction to market.
GQ: Are you looking to expand into retail too, as well as other countries?
Nick Toriello: We’re leveraging our capacity as the intel inside a wide array of foods to ultimately drive mainstream adoption through large volumes at retail, where our customers’ brands are present. This approach aligns with our purpose to remake the food system from within, delivering mass impact alongside mass adoption of our more humane, hyperfunctional ingredients.
For example, Grupo Nutresa’s significant market reach affords EVERY an onramp to deliver increasing volumes of our products across channels and geographies. Our agreement with Nutresa complements core R&D initiatives in Nutresa’s cold-cuts business, with an initial focus on the Zenú and Pietran brand lines, which are well-established retail brands within the company’s portfolio.
GQ: You moved to a new headquarters in April, dubbed ‘The Hatchery’. What’s your manufacturing capacity now?
AE: The purpose of The Hatchery is not to manufacture large volumes of protein: it’s to optimise the manufacturing process and transfer those learnings to our current scaled manufacturing sites. That said, we’ve quintupled our on-site fermentation capacity with the introduction of The Hatchery, our built-for-purpose pilot plant driving targeted manufacturing optimisation. It’s the ideal site to perfect our protein platform and continue improving the blueprint for scaled sites.
We recently hired Dr Konrad Mueller-Auffermann, one of the world’s leading experts in beverage, food and biotech process design, to spearhead EVERY’s preparation for further large-scale manufacturing at purpose-built sites. The Hatchery directly supports this work.
GQ: How’s your life cycle assessment (LCA) validation process going – when will the results will be published?
NT: We will be publishing more on LCA next year, and look forward to doing so. In the meantime, check out [EVERY scale-up partner] BioBrew’s LCA summary, which includes an overview of outcomes for poultry egg protein from fermentation, compared to conventional animal sources.
GQ: What are your plans for the next year – any further collaborations or new products in the works?
AE: We are always working on new products and collaborations, and have executed several yet-to-be-announced commercial partnerships that will continue to advance our mission to transform the broken food system. We are excited to share more in the near future.
Partnering with Nutresa is a pivotal move in our mission to transform the food system and deliver high-quality protein to consumers around the world.