EU approves protein ingredient from Eat Just

25 Oct 2021

Eat Just, the company behind the mung bean-based Just Egg, received approval from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stating that its novel mung bean protein used in its egg substitute is safe for consumption. It is the first novel legume protein that the EFSA has deemed to be safe for human consumption.

The regulatory body stated that the plant is “not nutritionally disadvantageous” and that the structure of the mung bean is related to other legumes such as soy, lupin and pea. Eat Just is still awaiting a final decision for the marketing, labeling and use of this mung bean protein under the EU’s Novel Food program, but Food Navigator reported that the company expects to launch its Just Egg product in mid-2022 after the European Commission concludes its final review.

EU approves protein ingredient from Eat Just
Image courtesy of Eat Just

Applications for approval of novel plant-based proteins by the EFSA are proliferating in Europe as consumers and manufacturers work to provide new, sustainable protein alternatives to the market. Food Navigator reported there are 43 applications under suitability check and another 99 that are undergoing the risk assessment portion of the approval process. This represents 10% of the total novel food applications, an indication that plant-based alternatives remain in demand by European consumers despite a host of regulations preventing an easy transition to market for companies that have engineered their proteins – either from nature or the laboratory.

However, Eat Just is not putting all of its eggs in one basket and has made strides in other markets in parallel with its application for food safety approval in the E.U. The U.S. company sells its products in its home territory where it says it owns 99.2% of the plant-based egg category, as well as Singapore, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Canada and South Africa. In Singapore, the company has also channeled its efforts to create commercially available, sustainable alternatives that go a step further. Last December, the company received the world's first regulatory approval to sell cell-based chicken.

In addition to the markets in which it operates independently, the plant-based egg company has several international manufacturing and marketing agreements with Italy's Eurovo and Germany’s poultry conglomerate, the PHW Group, as well as several additional partnerships in Asia, Latin America. When Eat Just receives its final approval to commercialize its mung bean egg substitute in Europe, the company will gain access to another large market where the demand for plant-based alternatives is growing steadily and is anticipated to reach $3.8 billion by 2026, according to Mordor Intelligence.

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