One my favorite aspects of my job leading the investment team at PowerPlant is getting to invest in, collaborate and work with female entrepreneurs transforming our global food system. Their commitment to creating a healthier, more humane, and sustainable food system for our people, planet, and animals is an inspiration to me and it is an honor to be able to support them. I am a board observer to some phenomenal female founded and operated brands: Miyokos, Rae Wellness, and Zero Egg and I wanted to give you all a glimpse into some of the impressive work that they are doing. I recently sat down with the co-founder and CEO of Zero Egg, Liron Nimrodi and wanted to share our egg-cellent conversation with the world 😊.
Julianne: Liron, I know Zero Egg has many strong differentiators relative to competitors… Your products compete with traditional eggs on taste, functionality, and price, all while being made exclusively with plants. Can you talk about why this technology really has the potential to be the “Beyond Meat of Eggs”, and why they’re so unique relative to other solutions currently in the market?
Liron: Zero Egg basically has three main differentiators compared to all other egg alternatives. One, is that we bring clean taste and texture. Second, is that the product is a lot more versatile, which means that with Zero Egg you can make a scrambled egg, omelet, use it for baked goods, and even make sauces or pasta. And the third differentiator is our affordability as we can compete with animal egg prices. This has not existed before and is a real game changer. We think [our product] is going to really disrupt the egg category. The technology of Zero Egg is all about carefully choosing the right plant proteins in the right ratio, that creates a liquid that mimics the behavior of a whole liquid egg. In the development process, we studied the proteins, the type, content, grade, purity, functionality, and we aimed to achieve the right texture, taste profile, and functionality. So, the IP is all around the formula, we are in the national stage, which is the final stage of the patent, and it’s patent-pending.
Julianne: You and I are both very familiar with the impact a global transition towards plant-based eggs could offer. There’s about a trillion eggs consumed globally on an annual basis, and we’re really in need of a solution that’s better for our health, the environment, and animals. I know Zero Egg’s products use on average 93% less water than traditional eggs. Can you expand upon this and the impact your products have at large?
Liron: We always talk internally that we exist for one reason: to make a positive impact on the world and to create a change. And if you think about eggs, you will see that they’re in almost everything that you eat from breakfast to lunch, dinner, and desserts. So, we developed a revolutionary solution, that is highly scalable globally. In terms of sustainability, even though we are a very early stage company, we conducted LCA research in order to understand the impact that Zero Egg can have on the world. We found that when you use Zero Egg instead of a regular egg, you are reducing the use of land, energy, and water by over 90%. And the greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 60%. On the ethical side, every year 7 billion male chicks are killed right when they are born, because they can’t lay eggs. And that’s just the tip of the ethical issues plaguing the industry.
Julianne: Wow, this definitely sounds like an industry that needs to change. On that note, where do you see the egg category going in the next 10 years? And do you have any predictions in terms of what type of market share capture plant-based can garner?
Liron: The global egg market is about $200 billion+ and there is a big white space here for plant-based eggs (see graph below). If we’re looking at plant-based milk alternatives, which is a pretty mature category, it reached 15% of the animal milk market. Plant-based meat alternatives have been rising the last couple of years and are just under 2% of the meat market. Then, eggs are less than half a percent of the animal egg market (see graph below). The reason for this is because the current egg alternative solutions in the market are not satisfying; they’re not “there” in terms of taste and texture nor have the functionality, nutritional values, and versatility, and this is the opportunity that we are tapping into. At Zero Egg, we bring the taste and texture and functionality of traditional eggs. We are using a blend of plant proteins to create a solution that does not exist yet. People want to have the real thing, the same taste, the same texture. And this is something that was missing in the egg category up until now. And, given demand, I think plant-based eggs have the opportunity to reach the market share capture of plant-based milks within 10 years. You mentioned the enormous numbers of eggs sold, so just think about the impact that Zero Egg will have, if we switch 10% of the global egg market to Zero Egg!
Source: SPINS U.S. Retail 2020
Julianne: Wow, a lot of value that will be created and captured here. Can you speak a little bit about your background and why in particular you felt called to lead this mission?
Liron: I’m a food engineer, I studied in the Technion in Israel and I really saw the industry from the inside. I particularly remember my visit as a development technologist to an animal slaughterhouse because after that visit I realized I wanted my career to focus on changing the food industry and changing what people eat. So, when Strauss Group and The Kitchen Hub called me to co-found Zero Egg, and I saw the product and the huge impact it could make on the world, I just knew this was the opportunity I was looking for.
Thank you, Liron for sharing your story and the aspirations you have for Zero Egg. We are honored to support your journey in disrupting an industry that needs to become healthier, more sustainable and humane.
Click here to learn more about Zero Egg.
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