Plant-based food options are increasingly becoming a fixture in supermarket aisles and restaurants, and Yo! Egg springs into action, poised to launch in American restaurants this year with what CEO Eran Groner says, “the world’s first plant-based sun-up poached eggs.”
The global plant-based egg market is expected to grow by an average of 27% year-on-year by 2027 to just under $800 million in value, from $148 million in 2020.
The Israel-based company was founded in 2019 by Groner. He has spent the past 20 years working in agriculture and food technology. He sensed that there was white space in the space for plant-based eggs and seafood and began to look at the problems, especially the amount of water needed to produce each poultry egg — 53 gallons, Groner said.
“Not to mention the diseases,” he added. “We learned in April that there was a case registered by the CDC of a person who tested positive for avian influenza. This is a disease that for a long time was thought not to be transferable to humans. Those are big problems that fascinated me and I know that the only way to solve them is to remove the animals from the building.”
Then he met one of his co-founders, Yosefa Ben Cohen, who was a long-time vegan and chef working on solutions for restaurants, and the idea for Yo! Egg (Groner chose “yo” to mean “wow”) arose.
Most of the startups tackling this space, including Perfeggt, Simply Eggless, and Eat Just, started out with powdered and liquid variants, but Yo! Egg goes for the more difficult “whole egg” experience, as it has developed a protein and running yolk for consumers who like the taste and texture of that style of eggs, but prefer a more sustainable and cholesterol-free option.
Hey! Egg is already on the market in Israel, starting at a breakfast chain that mainly serves poultry eggs.
“We could have easily picked a vegan joint and played it safe, but no, we chose the hardest one, which is a hardcore egg restaurant, serving all kinds of breakfasts,” Groner said. “They were willing to put us on our menu after they tasted our product. We’ve been there since December and now we’ve reached out to big tech companies like Google and Facebook, and some hotels and other food service companies.”
Backed by $5 million in seed funding, the company will debut its products at the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago next week.
After the fair, Groner expects Yo! Egg products on menus in the Los Angeles area by the end of the year. The company will also use the funding to scale up its sun-side-up and poached products and start work on hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and household baking solutions.
Development of the product is almost complete and the company has been able to grow from three full-time employees to ten employees in recent months, according to Groner.
Scaling is a challenge with plant-based and other alternative protein products, and Groner says Yo! Egg has not been without challenges. The company had to develop its own equipment, which took many iterations, and it has already developed a third prototype. He expects the final design to produce 50,000 eggs per day, up from the current 6,000 eggs per day.
“Our vision is to create the world’s largest egg company, not the alternative egg company, and not the largest plant-based egg company, but the largest egg company without using chickens,” Groner added. “If we want that, we have to move as soon as possible. That was the main reason why we wanted to attract venture capital.”
Meanwhile, the seed round was co-led by NFX and Stray Dog Capital, with Surround Ventures and Secret Chord Ventures also taking part.
“With more than 95 billion eggs consumed each year in the US and each egg requiring 53 gallons of water to produce, we need a better solution,” Stray Dog Capital partner Jonny Ream said in a statement. “After tasting Yo! Egg, we knew this company could change the world. We are proud to support their work and are excited to see their eggs all over menus. †
This post Hey! Egg cracks in US restaurants with poached plant-based poached eggs – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/05/17/yo-egg-restaurant-plant-based-eggs/”