Ex-Lidl Managers Launch The VGN With Whole Egg Substitute Made From Broad Bean Protein

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Four former Lidl managers have teamed up to launch plant-based egg alternative The VGN. Intended to be an international vegan food brand, the Germany-based startup is diving into the fast-growing sector with a whole egg replacement dubbed “The Original”. A liquid egg substitute, it is made from broad bean (also know as fava) protein and can be used as a direct swap in scrambled eggs, cooking and baking applications.

The founders, Jürgen Achenbach, Martin Hesse, Alexander Wilczek and Dieter Lamprecht, intend to close the gap between companies and customers. They have revealed that this will be achieved via an audacious social media presence that encourages consumer feedback and interaction. 

“The Original” vegan egg alternative. Photo by The VGN.

Using industry knowledge

With extensive food and retail experience, the founding team has cited a desire to offer sustainable vegan alternatives to everyday essentials. Products will be free from allergens, lactose and cholesterol. So far, only “The Original” has been confirmed for launch.

The founders bring together a combination of retail skills with marketing and purchasing being the most prolific. To bolster the former, professional agencies have been on board from the beginning of The VGN’s journey.

“We are delighted to have won the renowned creative agency Überground from Hamburg, which is known for attention-grabbing attitude campaigns, and the urban lifestyle agency BOLD from Berlin and for brand and packaging Miki Creative Office from Stuttgart for the launch,” Jürgen Achenbach said in a statement. “To live vegan is no longer a niche lifestyle. With our appearance and our communication, we will bring joie de vivre, colour and fun into the consumer world and offer people an enriching nutritional facet that they may not have known about before.”

Climate positivity on the menu

The VGN has signed up to the ‘Boden.Klima project’, a climate protection initiative launched by the Bioland Foundation that is focused on binding CO2 in agricultural topsoil. Achenbach and his colleagues will be donating 2 percent of all net sales to the project to support its work. Co-founder Martin Hesse has been able to leverage a longstanding working relationship with Bioland to bring the partnership about.

“We believe in a food system in which humans, animals and the environment can coexist in harmony,” Hesse said in a statement.

European expansion

Despite only one product being ready to launch, The VGN is eyeing European distribution. By mid-2022, the startup hopes to be making inroads via confirmed U.K. trading partner Ocado. “Our goal is to get people excited about a plant-based diet with our continuously growing product portfolio of innovative and sustainable items,” Co-founder Alexander Wilczek said in a statement. “With “The Original”, we already offer a product that supports consumers in eating consciously. We want to do this internationally, Germany is just the beginning,”

Photo by Plant B.

Germany’s egg race

Liquid egg replacements are springing up thick and fast. Last week, fellow German brand Plant B announced its new lupin-based development coming out of Hamburg. The product is cited as having all the same functionality as regular eggs but with half the calories, less fat and none of the cholesterol.

Also in Germany, Berlin-based Perfeggt was reported to be closing in on its final formulation for liquid egg, following a successful funding round at the end of last year. Perfeggt uses fava beans as its legume base of choice, stating that it is easy to flavour and stable.

Lead photo by The VGN.


  • Amy Buxton

    A long-term committed ethical vegan and formerly Green Queen's resident plant-based reporter, Amy juggles raising a family and maintaining her editorial career, while also campaigning for increased mental health awareness in the professional world. Known for her love of searing honesty, in addition to recipe developing, animal welfare and (often lacklustre) attempts at handicrafts, she’s hands-on and guided by her veganism in all aspects of life. She’s also extremely proud to be raising a next-generation vegan baby.

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