The Vegetarian Butcher to Use The Every Company’s Animal-Free Egg Whites for Plant-Based Meat

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Dutch plant-based meat startup The Vegetarian Butcher has teamed up with Californian precision fermentation pioneer The Every Company to use its animal-free egg whites in meat analogues.

Unilever-owned The Vegetarian Butcher will make use of The Every Co’s microbial egg whites as a clean-label binder in some of its meat-free formulations, marking a major collaboration in the alternative protein world.

The Vegetarian Butcher’s chicken, beef, pork and fish analogues are present in thousands of retailers and foodservice outlets across Europe and beyond. Its partnership with The Every Co – the only company that has commercialised precision-fermented egg proteins – is a step in its efforts to do away with chicken-derived eggs from its entire lineup.

Incorporating the animal-free egg white into its meat alternatives will allow it to provide a clean-label option to consumers who are increasingly apprehensive about ultra-processed foods and long ingredient lists.

“When on a mission, we love to work with the right partners to become even more impactful together,” The Vegetarian Butcher said in a statement. “This breakthrough, clean-label ingredient is a natural fit with The Vegetarian Butcher’s mission to release animals from the food chain.”

Ditching methylcellulose for the Every EggWhite

vegan butcher
Courtesy: The Vegetarian Butcher

Currently, The Vegetarian Butcher uses methylcellulose in its formulations, which is becoming less and less popular among meat analogue makers. While it’s widely used in the industry as a binder and gelling agent, its overprocessed nature, complex moniker, and use in laxatives has garnered it a bad rep – in 2022, Beyond Meat was sued for using the ingredient while putting ‘all-natural’ claims on its burgers (it no longer labels them this way).

But it’s a highly functional ingredient – it is non-toxic and allergen-free, can dissolve in cold water, and forms a gel at high temperatures. One of its most unique properties is its thermoreversibility: methylcellulose can set when hot and melt when cold. This means it provides meat analogues with a juicy bite and meatier texture, making it hard to replace.

Singaporean vegan chicken maker TiNDLE Foods uses methylcellulose to keep its plant-based meat together. On its website, it explains: “Think of it as a plant-based egg white.”

This is where The Every Co comes in. It genetically engineers yeast strains called Komagataella phaffii and feeds them on sugars to produce proteins found in eggs. Its precision-fermented EggWhite innovation contains ovalbumin, the most abundant egg protein, and provides aeration, whipping, gelling, binding, and foam stability properties.

Nick Toriello, The Every Co’s chief commercial officer, told AgFunderNews that The Vegetarian Butcher has been trying to get methylcellulose out of its formulations for “quite some time”. “What was key to them was that EVERY EggWhite was a relatively simple and straightforward product to work with as it could just serve as a drop-in replacement,” he explained. “The taste and texture of the end product is superior, and they get a cleaner label at the back end.”

The Every Co files for EU & UK approval

the every company
Courtesy: The Every Company

While its egg proteins are certified by The Vegan Society – as no animals are used or harmed to produce them – they must still carry an allergen warning. But the ‘animal-free’ or vegan message isn’t a priority for many of its partners, according to the startup.

“After years of dedicated effort to further veganise our product range, this new collaboration aims to accelerate the final steps of this process, while preserving the delicious taste and texture of our products,” The Vegetarian Butcher said.

As we reported in December, The Every Co has already been granted three ‘no further questions’ letters from the FDA in the US, but for The Vegetarian Butcher to sell any products featuring the Every EggWhite, the Californian startup will need regulatory approval in the respective countries. It has filed novel food applications in the EU and the UK.

“We aim to have that regulatory approval in parallel with the launch,” Toriello said, in relation to The Vegetarian Butcher partnership. “So the main market we’re targeting for this is the UK specifically, but we’re actively exploring near-term opportunities in other regions.”

The Dutch startup isn’t the first to use the Every EggWhite to fine-tune meat analogues – last year, Colombia’s Grupo Nutresa partnered with The Every Company to use its animal-free egg white as a binder for products under its Zenú and Pietran brands. The Silicon Valley startup has also collaborated with ingredients giant Ingredion and drinks conglomerate AB InBev in the past.

The Every Co’s 2024 priorities

precision fermentation egg
Courtesy: The EVERY Company

The Every Co is actively producing two other products: Every Protein, a nearly transparent protein bioidentical to glycoprotein (found in egg whites) for neutral and clear-looking foods and beverages; and Every Egg, a whole egg that contains the EggWhite, plant-based oils, natural colours and flavourings, fibre and water.

These products make for viable options among the volatility of chicken eggs, which have always had unpredictable prices and are frequently affected by outbreaks of avian flu. This is a big attraction for the startup’s B2B clients. “Every customer is different. Some want to absolutely take animals out of their supply chain,” explained Toriello. “But the bigger thing we’ve noticed in the last two years is that they want stability on supply and price. And on price, we are competitive with cage-free egg white pricing today.” (The startup has raised $233M in funding so far.)

And it delivers on taste too, having impressed the likes of Daniel Humm, who hosted a special dinner at his three-Michelin-starred eatery Eleven Madison Park with the Every Egg as the centrepiece. “In collaborating with chef Humm and his team at Eleven Madison Park, we successfully demonstrated that EVERY Egg’s quality delivers on the highest standards of culinary excellence,” The Every Co CEO Arturo Elizondo, who co-founded the startup in 2014 with David Anchel, told Green Queen at the time.

Speaking to AgFunderNews, he labelled “onboarding additional manufacturing capacity and translating that into products in the marketplace” as the business’ two top priorities for the year. “We’ve proven that our technology works at scale; we’re producing regularly in 100,000-litre+ fermenters, making metric tons of product,” he said. “So it’s now a matter of continuing to dial up scale so we have enough capacity to ultimately bring the cost down.”

Lance Lively, the company’s VP and general manager, added: “What we’re thinking the most about is how can we get to the point where we can supply 20% of eggs to the top five egg users on an annualised basis.”


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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