My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Hampton Creek Foods and their Plant Protein Egg Replacement – Global Egg Industry to get the Kibosh by 2017

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hampton Creek Foods and their Plant Protein Egg Replacement – Global Egg Industry to get the Kibosh by 2017

I love stories about Food.

But I’d have never expected the likes of Microsoft Chairman Bill Henry Gates, Third of His Name, to be supporting a company, Hampton Creek Foods, that’s making a substitute for Eggs and is thus shaking up the Egg Production Market as reported in “Bill Gates-Backed Food Startup Hampton Creek Begins To Come Out Of Shell, Make Money”, published 5/13/2014 @ 8:45AM by Ryan Mac, Forbes.

I smell the extinction of the Egg Industry coming….. and a tasty new replacement for Eggs based on Plant Proteins!

This story resonates with me on a Vegetarian Level, as I was once and still am a recovering Vegetarian. Especially as the UNFAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) states that for Beef Production from Cattle is unsustainable and we need to consider using Insects as meats instead as reported in my blog article entitled “United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says Insects is the Meat for the next 20 years - Soylent Green may be avoided via Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”.

In that article I’d featured the CEO of Beyond Meat Ethan Brown and their process of making Meat from Plant material. I’d also mentioned the work Dr. Koert van Mensvoort, Assistant professor at the Eindhoven's University of Technology and their patent pending process of Growing Meat in the Laboratory from Scratch. Hampton Creek Foods is headed by CEO Josh Tetrick and his story is very interesting, unlike most Vegetable munchers I know!

Hampton Creek Foods is sorta similar to these other companies, as like Beyond Meat, they make a Protein based product via blending Plant Proteins in such a manner as to mimic the texture and flavor of the real thing, in this case Eggs.

Yes, Jamaicans, you read that right!

This dude’s planning to mash up the Jamaican Egg Industry, or rather the Export side, by making a replacement for Eggs. The same Eggs which are currently and STILL experiencing a shortage  in Jamaica thanks to a Meat shortage created by a trend towards Ovo-Lacto Vegetarianism as stated in my blog article entitled “Egg Shortage in Jamaica set to continue to March 2014 - Poor Agricultural Planning to blame as Cheap Meat shortages forcing many to become Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians”.

But before you grab your pitchfork and start light fires and piling wood high in order to burn Hampton Creek Foods CEO Josh Tetrick, you might need to know that this is inevitable given the source of Eggs and Meat. Both are unsustainable in the long term, suggesting that these above companies may not be the only one on this wild quest to replace Eggs and Meat.

It’s for this reasons that I’ve decided to do an article on Hampton Creek Foods.

Hampton Creek Foods – Company named after a Dog taking on Global Egg Industry

They’re basically developing a replacement for Eggs based on using Plant Proteins blended to taste like Eggs, a company that Bill Gates III began supporting back in November 2013 as stated in “Bill Gates' Food Fetish: Hampton Creek Foods Looks To Crack The Egg Industry”, published 11/23/2013 @ 8:45AM by Ryan Mac, Forbes.

Currently Hampton Creek Foods can count the following high profile VC (Venture Capital) Backers:

1.      Bill Gates and his Gates Foundation
2.      Jerry Yang’s of AME Cloud Ventures 
3.      Li Ka-shing, a Hong Kong billionaire and owner of Horizon Ventures
4.      Peter Thiel’s and his Founders Fund
5.      Tom Steyer, a tree-hugging Billionaire
6.      Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures

33 year old Hampton Creek Foods CEO Josh Tetrick, got radicalized into the War on Meat even as  he still chomped on Chicken wings and buttered biscuits when he was baptized into Vegetarianism while doing his Law Degree at University of Michigan in 2008. A stint at the now hard-to-find-because-it-doesn’t-exist-anymore website 33needs whetted his interest further in issues relating to Globalization and the lengths to which Developing World countries go to produce food.

Either that or his childhood friend Joshua Balk was REAL convincing, resulting in him plunking down US$37,000 in 2011 to jumpstart his friend's company named after Balk's Dog, i.e. Hampton Creek Foods. Very Strange Dog, I’ll admit, being as the company named after the Dog makes a substitute for an ingredient that may already be in Dog food and worse, is an animal that likes Meat.

The 62 strong San Francisco Company has plans to expand production facilities in China and is Growing Strong, Game of Thrones Style, with 100 employees by year end. The end of the 2014, the Year of the Horse, will see Hampton Creek Foods making US$30 million, up from the same US$1 million when they’d launched officially in November 2013, mostly on the sales of their Mayonnaise products, which uses their Replacement Egg Protein made from Plant Proteins.

Hampton Creek Foods and their Egg Replacement – Vegetable Proteins give Meat the Kibosh

Now it's 2014 and Hampton Creek Foods has a team of Ronin Biochemists sans Unilever and Otis Spunkmeyer taste-testing concoctions of Plant Proteins blended from a variety of products, all these Plants of course great sources of Natural Plant Protein:

1.      Castor Beans
2.      Corn
3.      Red Bean
4.      Sorghum
5.      Soya

In short, the very same beans and peas that Chickens eat and convert to Protein are being used by his Research Team to make Egg Protein. Dabbling with the molecular structures of 1.500 Plants is a great deal of research that has yielded such Binding agents such as Molasses and Canola Oil to improve the texture of the Proteins.

These Plants Proteins have the advantage of being safer than Protein derived from Animal sources as they aren’t as susceptible to spoilage as regular Meat does. Binding Agents make sure that their replacement Egg Protein mix not only emulsify like a normal Egg White but also taste like one as well.

Interestingly too, its taste is allegedly spot on with Eggs. The packaging will be much different though; mostly vacuum-sealed Plastic Satchets with the artificially produced Egg Yolk and Egg White separated to the convenience of Chefs to be used in their Baking Process. Being as it’s NOT Eggs i.e. has no shell to dispose of, it’s readily available in a Liquid form in a vacuum-sealed Plastic Pouch, making it a possible replacement to Liquid Egg Processing in US of A.

This is great for Chefs and Food Processors as that means that this Replacement Egg Protein will not go bad and can be stored indefinitely once kept in its vacuum sealed plastic pouches. However, for handicrafts like the Russian art of Easter Egg Painting as described in my blog article entitled “How to make Glow-in-the-Dark Etched Easter Eggs - Russian Tradition with a Modern Jamaican Twist makes Katy Perry Roar”, the blow cause by the extinction of Egg Production may be a little severe if you have no Egg shells to paint on.

This is the same Liquid Eggs that our Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke wants to use to replace Margarine and Butter in the making of Nutri-Buns for healthier meal options for Primary and High School Children as stated in my blog article entitled “Ministry of Agriculture to approve Fruit and Liquified Eggs for School Feeding Program even as Pork faces Glut - How Solar Farming will make Jamaica's Food Security Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”.

Tumeric or Annotto seeds may be masticated, emulsified and mixed into the Plant Protein Suspension to produce the Bright Yellow Colours of the Egg Yolk, which they can package along with the Egg White or sell separately to Food Processors to use in their Food Production.

The result is a blended Replacement for Egg Protein that’s more “Natural” than the so-called Naturally produce Eggs made from force-fed GM (Genetically Modified) Chickens as to quote Hampton Creek Foods CEO Josh Tetrick: “Putting a female bird in a cage in a space so small that a female bird can’t flap her wings for two years, I find that the antithesis of natural”.

It’s also a big improvement on other companies that makes Replacement for Egg Protein, such as ConAgra’s Egg Beaters, whose products use xanthan and guar gums to add body and stability to the Egg but mainly make Eggs for the Food Processing Industry.

Hampton Creek Foods  is the first company I’ve come across that's making an Egg Protein Replacement that apparently is just blending of Plant Proteins and adding Herbs, Spices, Sugars and Oils to make a formula that can pass for Eggs sans the Shells

US Egg Industry gets defensive - Hampton Creek Foods to make Eggs obsolete by 2017

Ultimately that's where the Big Money lies. Not in making Products from their Egg replacement, but from selling Eggs to Large scale Food Manufacturers on the same arguement as Beyond Meat: Eggs produced from Plant Protein is cheaper than “Natural” Eggs.

I say “Natural” as the ingredients used in Hampton Creek Foods are ironically, more natural than the very Chicken produced Eggs, being as they are made directly from Plant Proteins, the very same Plant Proteins that many Chickens consume.

So not only is it saving Chickens all over the World, it’s also cheaper to make Eggs from Plant Proteins than via feeding animal under inhumane conditions to make them lay Eggs. In the words of Hampton Creek Foods CEO Josh Tetrick, quote: “Food to me is broken for a lot of reasons, but the best sort of manifestation of that is the world of intensive animal agriculture”.

According to Hampton Creek Foods, the ratio of Energy input to Food Energy Output used to make Eggs from Chickens is 39-to-1, whereas Hampton Creek Foods Ratio comes in a decent 2-to-1. What that means is a Natural Egg Substitute that half the cost of Traditional Egg production, a factor that should have US Egg Producers worried about Hampton Creek Foods dominating their $42.5 billion market.

When blended in to their Mayonnaise demonstration product, Just Mayo, it costs Whole Foods, a distributor of Non-GM (Genetically Modified) Foods, 10% less to purchase and sell than Regular Mayonnaise made with Eggs. Mayonnaise is a US$11.3 billion and with Whole Foods staffing some 120 stores across the continental United States of America.

Hampton Creek Foods currently has distribution deals for its Just Mayo Mayonnaise and other Replacement Egg Protein Based products with the following companies:

1.      Safeway
2.      Costco
3.      Kroger
4.      Hong Kong’s ParkNShop
5.      AmazonFresh

They are also doing joint research with the following Food Processors General Mills, owners of Brands such as Betty Crocker and Pillsbury to see if their cheaper Egg Protein Replacement can be used in their Products and still maintain quality and taste. If they can crack that Egg, Hampton Creek Foods along with Beyond Meat can make the Egg and Meat Production Extinct by 2017!

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