Hampton Creek, the Silicon Valley startup that quickly became a household name for its ridiculously convincing Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise substitute, is set to wade into some of the most complex territory for a vegan brand. The company is poised to release a vegan scrambled egg substitute sometime in the next few months.
Egg replacements are becoming more diverse and creative by the day. For example, you can use Ener-G, mashed bananas, or silken tofu for most baking recipes. Of course, there’s something many vegans miss dearly that is so hard to mimic: a real egg dish, of the scrambled variety.
Follow Your Heart tried to fill that void in 2015 with VeganEgg, an egg substitute, but the release met mixed reviews. Sites like Vegan Mammy and House Vegan offered support of the product, touting its similarity in texture to the real thing, as well as VeganEgg’s universal usefulness in a variety of recipes. Meanwhile, Bon Appetit was slightly more scathing, calling the substitute flavor similar to that of cardboard, Styrofoam, and “salty baby food.”
Can Hampton Creek do better? The company is excited to try.
Hampton Creek’s new product, called “Just Scramble,” is rooted in a mung bean-based protein the company refers to as, simply, “Jack.”
“Jack, which our research and culinary teams also refer to as ‘magic bean,’ has been in the food system for thousands of years and it’s the base ingredient for our forthcoming Just Scramble product, an egg substitute that contains 20 percent more protein than a chicken egg with zero cholesterol,” Hampton Creek Communications Director Andrew Noyes said in a statement.
Noyes said Jack was recently green-lighted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in Just Scramble. “Hampton Creek has just been notified by the FDA that our submission for mung bean protein isolate nicknamed ‘Jack’ has been met with a ‘No Questions’ letter from the agency, meaning there are no concerns around safety and it is ‘Generally Regarded as Safe [GRAS],’” Noyes said.
This is only the seventh time in 20 years that the FDA marked a plant protein isolate as GRAS. Hopefully we’ll see more of that in the future.
Hampton Creek says Jack will come into play for a number of products in the future. Considering how yummy all of Hampton Creek’s products are, from cookie dough to a variety of salad dressings, a new line of products featuring Jack front and center will likely be worthy of some serious applause.