Nestle unveils plant-based egg as it taps into vegan growth

Nestle is launching plant-based substitutes for eggs that closely mirror the taste, nutrition and performance of the originals.
calendar icon 7 October 2021
clock icon 5 minute read

Reuters reports that the Swiss food group is extending is product range to tap into the fast-growing vegan market.

The egg substitute, branded Garden Gourmet vEGGie in Europe, contains soy protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It can be scrambled or used in a frittata or as an ingredient in cakes and cookies, Nestle said.

Chief Executive Mark Schneider said the Swiss company's vegan products such as plant-based burgers and sausages were seeing double-digit sales growth.

"It's also not limited to one particular age group or one particular demographic group," he told reporters in London. "This is really getting mainstream and broad based."

Last year, Nestle's sales from plant-based products were just 200 million Swiss francs ($216 million), a tiny fraction of its total sales of 84 billion francs.

Chief Technology Officer Stefan Palzer said Nestle had developed the new product in less than a year, using for example its plant science expertise to engineer pea protein that did not have the taste of the legume.

"We want to be as close as possible to the animal-based version, because then it's much easier for people to switch to these type of products," he said in an interview.

Garden Gourmet vEGGie will initially have a limited launch in some European markets, including Switzerland.

Nestle launched its first plant-based burgers in 2019, about three years later than US industry pioneers Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

"We're the first ones to say that we did not invent the plant-based hamburger, we also didn't invent plant-based chicken," Schneider said.

"But I'm also obviously proud to say ours right now will beat everyone around the world when it comes to taste, mouth appeal and especially nutrition."

Palzer said Nestle's global reach and range of brands also gave it an advantage over high-profile rivals.

"We have a broad portfolio of food and beverage brands, which these companies don't have," he said.

Nestle has already launched vegan products across its other categories, including a vegan KitKat.

"There's a super big opportunity for us to make line extensions is all these loved brands," Palzer said.

($1 = 0.9276 Swiss francs)

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