An Indian professor recently won first place for developing an egg substitute that cooks like the conventional version. Made from moong dal, also known as mung beans, the innovative vegan egg comes in syrup form.
Professor Kavya Dashora of the Centre for Rural Development and Technology, part of the Institute of Technology, Delhi, wanted to create an egg substitute that could address malnutrition.
The United Nations Development Programme Accelerator Lab in India conducted the contest. Dr. Dashora won a USD$5,000 award for her plant-based egg. She created it in tandem with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These include “zero hunger” and “good health and well-being.”
“The mock egg [was] developed from very simple farm-based crop proteins. [It] not only looks and tastes like an egg but [it’s] also very close in nutritional profile to a poultry egg,” Professor Dashora said in an interview with NDTV. It also contains zero cholesterol and is gluten-free.
Innovation in Food Technology
Professor Dashora’s research team is also exploring plant-based chicken and fish in order to combat hunger. She also plans to launch vegan sausages, mutton, beef, and turkey. All of the products will have a similar nutritional value to and taste like meat.
According to the researcher, the product was designed to appeal to meat-reducers. The price will be comparable to meat.
“Most people who want to switch to vegetarian food stuck to meat because of its taste and protein value,” Professor Dashora told the Indian Express. “We have taken care of both aspects, using normal farm produce. For the vegan egg, we have used protein isolation technology and extrusion technology for meat.”
According to a 2016 Future Market Insights report, the egg replacement market is expected to reach over $1.5 billion by 2026.
Nonprofit The Good Food Institute promotes the acceleration of alternative proteins. It notes that vegan egg is the fastest-growing category in the plant-based food market. But, it is the least-developed.
Vegan egg innovation is having a moment. The JUST Egg, a liquid egg substitute developed by California-based food tech company Eat Just, recently replaced egg patties at popular Chinese fast food chain Dicos. Crack’d, a pourable vegan egg made from pea protein, became the first product of its kind to launch in UK supermarkets late last year.
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Kat writes about susainable food, fashion, and food technology. They have a BA in Cinema and Culture Studies from Stony Brook University.