Large-scale factory farms have caused more and more consumers to look for alternatives to meat and animal products these days and plenty of companies are taking notice. Innovators like Hampton Creek with their egg-free Just Mayo, The Vegg with its plant-based scrambled eggs and Beyond Meat with their revolutionary designed chicken and beef alternatives all strive to produce a product that meets the latest consumer demand – sustainable, healthy, and tasty.
Now, Clara Foods is jumping into the fray with their new, entirely plant-based egg white. Though still in the design process, the product boasts itself as a competitor to the animal-based egg white in that it is high in protein and cholesterol-free, but it’s also free from risk of salmonella, safe for those with egg allergies, sustainable, and humanely produced. We gotta say, we’re pretty intrigued!
Now all we need to do is hit up a Cross Fit and shoot for a new PR
“We’re far along on paper. The hard part is making sure it tastes exactly like an egg white,” co-founder Arturo Elizondo told Fast Company. “We want to produce a product identical in terms of culinary properties. There’s a chef downstairs in the building [where Clara and other startups share space] that wants to bake with it.”
Look, it even makes meringue!
It’s little surprise that when choosing a product to produce humanely and sustainably, they’d pick an egg white. Hugely popular over the years as a healthier alternative to whole eggs, egg whites have popped up on menus everywhere as a lean protein source. Even McDonald’s has added them to their menus in the hopes of attracting a more health conscious crowd.
However, you can’t make an egg white omelet without literally breaking some eggs, the production of which is under fire for its impact on the environment. A dozen eggs take an average 636 gallons of water to produce. That means each egg individually uses 53 gallons of water. Considering that U.S. farmers produce around 79 billion eggs annually, that’s a whole lot of water. To put this into perspective, it only takes 40 gallons of water to produce an entire pound of peas, which is what compose Hampton Creek’s high protein, egg alternative.
Looking at our plates is the most profound step we can take in the fight against climate change.
What’s more, the egg industry has one of the worst track records for humane treatment of any factory farming operation. Chickens remain the only farm animal not protected under The Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act (HMLSA), meaning that their standards of treatment can be much lower than that of cows or pigs and it’s perfectly legal. Egg laying hens are often crammed into tiny battery cages or large, windowless barns in overcrowded conditions that are not only inhumane, but a breeding ground for the spread of disease.
The current avian flu outbreak is only the latest in a string of animal and human health risks centered around current factory farming business practices, and without change, it’s not expected to get better any time soon. Companies like Clara are on the right track in thinking of food differently and trying to create something that will allow consumers to steer away from the sweeping issues our current system has generated.
Clara Foods founders Isha, Arturo and David.
The company’s mission statement is simple. “We want food to be healthy, great tasting, and affordable without compromising our environment and our values in the process. Unfortunately, today’s current food production system makes that nearly impossible. Is it really too much to ask for? We don’t think so.”
We don’t either.
Lead image source: 7 Themes