There are many things we sacrifice by being vegan. On the most basic level, we sacrifice our access to certain foods as they do not fit in with the lifestyle that we live, but it gets more complex than that, as it can feel at times we have had to sacrifice whole cooking methods and sections of cuisine.
Of course, we are talking about baking. Baking, while it can be vegan and many people have found clever ways to make food baked goods, does not lend itself well to veganism.
Even though at its core level it is basically flour of some description, it relies on a lot of animal products – like butter and eggs – to create the goods within it.
However, the company Just Egg seems to have come to the rescue of vegans everywhere with their product line of bakery ingredients. But are they actually vegan? Or is that just a rumor?
What Is Just Egg?
For those who have not heard of this product and their parent company before, let us fill you in.
Eat Just is a company that was started in 2011 by founders Josh Tetrick and Josh Balk with the idea of creating a completely vegan egg substitute product.
This was done through venture capital and when their product hit the market, they became a ‘unicorn’ or a company that surpasses $1 billion in revenue.
It took 2 years for their first product to be fully formed, but by 2013 they had managed to isolate and identify plant proteins that had similar quality to chicken egg proteins – like how they gel and emulsify.
The plant that had these products: mung beans. Yep, that’s right, ordinary mung beans were the necessary ingredient to make their first product the Just Egg product.
The company had a lot of problems at the beginning with the American Egg Board engaged in a campaign to smear the name of the company and of hiring other companies to basically destroy them, but they persevered and now is one of the biggest sustainable food companies in America.
As to what Just Egg actually is, as we mentioned earlier, it is a liquid that has been isolated from the protein of mung beans.
These proteins are very similar to egg proteins, but are totally, 100% vegan, which means you can use them like eggs.
Need to make scrambled eggs? Use Just Egg. Need to make a cake with eggs? Use Just Egg. Need to just eat more protein? Use Just Egg.
Eat Just not only saw a niche in the market and filled it, they also made this product with the environment in mind.
See, while chickens and egg production are less harmful than cow or pig, they still contribute to environmental problems, and they are unfair on the animals.
Eat Just knew that people wouldn’t give up eggs without an alternative, which they chose to supply through their Just Egg product.
Is Just Egg Vegan?
This question takes a little bit to answer. So, we will go through the different steps that determine a vegan product and see whether Just Egg is vegan:
The complete list of ingredients is thus:
- Mung Bean Protein Isolate
- Corn Starch
- Expeller Pressed Canola Oil
- Baking Powder
- Dehydrated Garlic
- Dehydrated Onion
- Natural Carrot Extractives
- Natural Turmeric Extractives
There are absolutely no animal products in the ingredients here, with every single ingredient being plant based or chemically made without animal involvement. So, the ingredient list at the very least is completely vegan.
Now, if you had a completely plant-based product as a company, then normally that company would label it vegan.
However, Eat Just has refrained from doing that at every opportunity, and many people have asked the question as to why.
Instead, they have called their product ‘an alternative to eggs’ and it is not stated in many places why this is even though it is an important distinction. In fact, many people have contacted the company asking this very question.
Luckily, though, the company has responded to them with the same response. They first thank the emailer for their response before giving two reasons for not labeling their food ‘vegan’.
The first is that they want to bring quality and sustainable foods to as many people as possible and that by labeling their food as vegan, this might undermine their mission.
While this saddens us, we can understand the logic. Once people see a food or other things in a category, they normally refuse to associate with it if it is not part of their own category.
For example, many people now refuse to try tofu, despite it being a common Asian food for thousands of years, because it is associated with veganism. It is sad that people can be close minded, but it can’t be helped.
The other reason is that Eat Just don’t believe that Just Egg is vegan. They say that once the mung bean protein was analyzed, it was fed to rats to see if there was any undigested protein in their excrement.
Eat Just did this as, even though mung beans are non-toxic, if their process had changed the nature of the protein then it might have caused people to get sick.
The protein was found to be completely safe, and no rats died or were harmed, but the fact that they had to test on animals means that Eat Just don’t feel comfortable calling Just Egg a vegan product.
Just Egg – Vegan Or Not?
Unfortunately, we do not have a satisfactory answer for you for this one, as this comes down to your own judgment.
The ingredients are completely vegan, but the animal test may irk you. We will add a couple of points that swayed our mind towards Just Egg being vegan and see if that sits well with you.
The first is that the animals were fine, and it was one test. That doesn’t make it better, but the FDA and other governmental branches will depend on trials before this product could be sold, so it was going to happen at some level.
The second is that a lot of the vegan products on the market have done testing before they were sold. For example, Eat Just tested the pea protein that is used in the Beyond Burger in exactly the same manner.
Beyond can claim to be vegan because they did not perform the test themselves, but the protein in the burger was tested by those same rats.
The third is that Eat Just seems to have been open and ethical about this.
They have admitted to the tests, they have shown that no animals were harmed by the test itself, and they refuse to name themselves a vegan product due to not wanting to mislead people.
As such we feel, Just Egg could be considered vegan, but if it still bothers you, then that is fair, and you don’t have to count it.
Just Egg uses fully plant ingredients, but will not call themselves a vegan product due to Eat Just’s test on rats for the protein isolate.
However, due to the nature of the test and the openness they have shown about it, they could be considered vegan by many.