Arnold Schwarzenegger may not have to give up his infamous raw egg protein supplement now that he’s a vegan. Functional ingredient developer FUMI Ingredients claims to have created an alternative for egg whites that is derived from non-GMO microorganisms.
The Wageningen University & Research spin-off just announced a €500,000 ($552,000) investment from two Dutch VCs: Innovation Industries and SHIFT Invest. The company is also a graduate of Wageningen’s StartLife accelerator, which focuses on supporting food and agriculture startups.
The new round of capital will be used to boost production. For its route to market, FUMI has targeted what it views as a major challenge for food producers: using egg whites to bind protein alternatives together allowing for 100% animal-free products to be made. The final product contains what it describes as highly functional fractions consisting of proteins, peptides, and polysaccharides.
Company founder Edgar Suarez Garcia claims that his proprietary alternative can outcompete traditional egg whites on cost. According to MarketWatch, the egg protein market, which includes egg white powder, egg yolk powder, and whole egg powder, is expected to grow 1.4% over the next five years reaching over $1.13 billion in value by 2024.
A successful egg white substitute could be a boon for other applications. Many vegans are individuals avoiding eggs are forced to sleuth through the internet for hacks on how to replace eggs as an ingredient. Many other food manufacturers are hot on an animal-free egg white replacement, including DuPont. The behemoth unveiled a naturally sourced egg white replacement for plant-based burger patties, cooked sausages, and cold cuts last year, according to Food Dive. It launched initially in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa but is due to debut in globally this year.
More recently, JUST unveiled its JUST Egg CPG product that is made from mung bean protein and is designed to scramble like a typical egg. Whole Foods featured the product in its breakfast sandwiches. Canadian QSR chain Tim Hortons piloted the ingredient to its breakfast menu but recently announced that it is removing all Beyond Meat products from its menus.
Animal-free ingredient swaps are popping up in other areas other than egg whites. PURIS (formerly Geltor) announced a pea-based alternative to gelatin in 2018, for example, while Motif (formerly Ginkgo Bioworks) has raised over $126 million to develop animal-free ingredient swaps.