U.S – Eat Just, Inc., a private company that develops and markets plant-based alternatives to egg and meat, has announced that the chief ingredient in its popular plant-based JUST Egg products, mung bean protein, has received approval from the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) expert panel on nutrition.
This paves way for the inceptive launch of JUST Egg to take place in Europe in mid-2022 after the European Commission winds up its review.
By participating in the European Union’s novel food process and passing the EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens safety assessment, Eat Just’s mung bean protein has become the first novel legume protein to be deemed safe under the regime that has governed all new food ingredients entering the European markets since May 1997.
The scientific opinion by the EFSA panel has been published in the EFSA Journal.
“Bringing JUST Egg to Europe, and to millions of consumers who are choosing a healthier, more sustainable approach to eating, will be one of the most important milestones for our company. I appreciate the hard work of our team and, most importantly, the thoughtfulness and rigor of the EFSA panel that led to this historic safety approval,” said Josh Tetrick, Co-founder and CEO of Eat Just.
Eat Just efficaciously collaborated with analyze & realize GmbH, a leading regulatory consulting agency specialized in natural health products, in preparation for the EFSA hearing. The company is also actively engaging with the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) on a regulatory path to market.
The mung bean-based egg replacer launched in the United States in 2019, but recently, the company set its sights on global expansion. The company initially aimed to debut in Europe in 2021, but an unexpected delay pushed back the indeed product launch. The approval comes back-to-back with recent launches in South Africa and South Korea which have added to the brand’s growing international presence, which also includes Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
“Our risk assessment of mung bean protein is an important and necessary step in the novel food evaluation process. Through our risk assessments, we support policymakers in the EU in taking science-based decisions and ensuring the safety of consumers, while also making an important contribution to innovation in this sector,” said Anotonio Fernandez, EFSA Scientific Officer .
Prior to the European debut, Eat Just will open its largest production facility in Singapore to expand its production and distribution capacities for its plant-based egg, and its cultured meat brand, GOOD Meat – the world’s first cultured meat company to receive regulatory approval.
Increasing demand for plant-based products
Studies have shown European consumers are increasingly ravening for plant-based products and the egg category is one of the biggest areas of opportunity. Nielsen data shows European retail sales of plant-based foods reached €3.6 billion (US$ 4,174,704,000) in 2020 – 28 percent higher than 2019 and 49 percent higher than 2018.
A 2020 report by ProVeg International said stand-alone egg alternatives like JUST Egg represent a major market opportunity due to versatility, breadth of function and frequency of consumption.
Government programs such as the European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy, first published in May 2020, have also championed for a healthier and more environmentally sustainable food system.
Industry groups like the European Alliance for Plant-Based Foods have called upon the Commission, the European Parliament and member states in the Council of the EU to enable the plant-based food sector to grow and contribute to tackling climate change, public health and other issues.