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Hampton Creek Foods Seeks to Replace Eggs With Plants

CEO Josh Tetrick with their first product, Just Mayo
CEO Josh Tetrick with their first product, Just Mayo
Courtesy of Hampton Creek Foods

Fast forward a couple years, and it's likely that those scrambled eggs you eat every morning will have grown in a garden instead of a chicken's lady parts. That's thanks to Hampton Creek Foods, a food tech company that's revolutionizing the egg industry with their plant-based substitutes.

The Bill Gates (among other tech heavyweights)-funded startup has been making major waves with their line of eggless eats, from the recently released Just Mayo (now flying off Whole Foods shelves nationwide) to the scrambled egg substitute Just Scramble, hitting shelves early next year.

We spoke to CEO and founder Josh Tetrick on his love for capitalism, our broken food system, and why the notion of 'Old MacDonald' is way outdated. Five things we learned from talking to this ethical entrepreneur are after the jump.

See also: Enough With the Pork, Miami: Here's a Case for Vegetables

5. Yellow peas make better eggs than, well, actual eggs.

"We've looked at over 2,000 types of plants and we've identified 11 of them that are as functional or more functional than the chicken egg. Our science starts with a team of bio-chemists," Tetrick explains.

By analyzing the bio-chemical properties of these plants, they found that the Canadian yellow pea is the ideal egg substitute for their Just Mayo product. This type of intensive scientific research means tasty, animal-free substitutes that cost less and are easier on the environment.

4. Our food system is seriously broken.

"The personification of a broken food system for us is nine birds crammed in a small cage for two years, going to the bathroom all over each other, fed massive amounts of soy and corn that requires a lot of land, water, and fertilizer," Tetrick adds.

To produce eggs requires feed, water, space, manpower -- not to mention the animal experience costs and the toll on the environment. Plant-based substitutes are more efficient, healthier and cheaper.

3. Capitalism and sustainability can go hand in hand.

Tetrick believes that better products will win out on their own merit.

"It wasn't too long ago we used to light our homes with a candle, then gaslight came and people called it the candle substitute -- then electricity was the 'gaslight substitute,'" he says. "The way to do it is to create a model that is so compelling that it makes existing model obsolete."

This is what he believes will happen with Hampton Creek's products -- they'll beat out the status quo because they're better, more affordable and profitable, to boot.

Hampton Creek Foods Seeks to Replace Eggs With Plants
Courtesy of Hampton Creek Foods

2. Most people don't realize where their food comes from.

Newsflash: most grocery store eggs come from factories, where hens live in filthy and inhumane conditions. Who wants to eat anything that originates in a place like that?

"I think it's important to acknowledge what that baseline is. A chicken egg does not come from 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm.' That's hard for a lot of people to wrap their brains around," Tetrick says.

Some free-range farmers are even supportive of Hampton Creek Foods, he adds, since the mass-production of eggs goes against their value system as well.

1. Egg substitutes will be MORE affordable than the real thing.

Forget the notion of uber-expensive, Whole Foods-exclusive products for a niche, elite market. Tetrick and team are making products for the masses. They expect their vegan eats to stand side by side with the usual suspects on a supermarket shelf.

"We can have products that are 20% percent more affordable than the status quo and as good or more delicious," Tetrick says.

Save money. Improve the planet. End the exploitation of animals. We're up for some scrambled plants, for sure.

Want to get on the egg-free eats bandwagon? Ask for Just Mayo at your local store. If they don't have it -- keep asking. Consumer demand is what's going to fuel this food revolution. And start looking for their newest products, Just Scramble and Eat the Dough (egg-free cookie dough you can eat straight from the container) on shelves early next year.

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.

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