Israeli food tech startup Yo! Egg, which has developed plant-based poached and sunny-side-up eggs, announced that it plans to launch in US restaurants later this year. The announcement follows a recent seed funding round of $5 million, which was led by food-tech focused venture capital firm Stray Dog Capital and NFX, alongside contributions from Surround Ventures and Secret Chord Venture.
Founded in Israel in 2019 by accredited vegan chef Yosefa Ben-Cohen, experienced foodservice operator and entrepreneur Nisim Ben-Cohen and food tech executive Eran Groner, Yo! Egg aims to disrupt the conventional egg industry and eliminate the need for chicken farming. The company claims its poached and sunny-side-up eggs are first of their kind in the world.
“With over 95 billion eggs consumed every year in the US, and each egg requiring 53 gallons of water to produce, we need a better solution,” said Johnny Ream, Stray Dog Capital Partner, in a press release. “Yo! Egg has developed one of the most impressive plant-based products we have seen to date, and we believe both the product and scaling innovation the company is pursuing will give them the potential to drive significant growth and impact.”
Like a conventional egg, Yo! Egg’s product is made up of two parts — the “white” and the “yolk.” The white consists of several ingredients combined into a liquid mass, with similar beneficial nutrients as chicken eggs. For the center of the egg, a molecular process is used to shape a proprietary, patent-pending combination of ingredients into a “yolk.” While the taste and texture of Yo! Egg mimics that of chicken eggs, it contains only one gram of protein per serving. The average egg from hens has around six to seven grams of protein.
Yo! Egg is pioneering the sustainable production of eggs for various culinary applications. It offers the “whole egg” experience for consumers who eat eggs, but would prefer a more animal-friendly, sustainable and cholesterol-free option. The whole-egg analogues are already served in an Israeli breakfast chain and the US debut is just around the corner.
American restaurateurs got their first experience of Yo! Egg at the National Restaurant Association trade show last week in Chicago. The company anticipates having its plant-based eggs on Los Angeles menus by the end of the year. Alongside a domestic restaurant chain, Yo! Egg claims that its products are served in Google and Facebook offices, hotels and other foodservice outlets in Israel.
The global egg market is expected to reach $297.47 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of seven percent. In contrast, the plant-based egg sector is slated to hit $791.356 million by 2027, with a CAGR of just over 27 percent. Comparing the trajectories of these two markets, plant-based eggs represent long-term growth, marking a clear shift in consumer habits.
Motivation for seeking alternatives to chicken eggs are largely considered to be health-related, due to the increased risk of heart disease that comes from consuming cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat. Public health and safety issues — such as a recent case recorded by the CDC of a person testing positive for avian influenza — play an increasingly large role as well, alongside environmental issues.
Most of the startups tackling the plant-based egg space, including Eat Just, Perfeggt and Simply Eggless, have started with powdered and liquid varieties. Meanwhile, Yo! Egg is going after the more difficult “whole egg” experience, which the company is hoping will differentiate it from a growing number of competitors.