Liquid gold: India’s EVO Foods to launch plant-based liquid egg this year and eyes US expansion
The legume-based liquid egg will be sold through its website direct-to-consumer this year. The firm is also working with restaurants in India’s main cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore to launch its product.
Cost-wise, EVO Foods’ liquid egg is expected to be similar to organic eggs in India. In India, organic eggs cost around INR$15 to 25 per egg (US$0.2-0.35).
While other plant-based egg products typically use a single type of protein or a mix of vegetable proteins, EVO Foods says it is using a blend of proteins from legumes to provide a better nutritional profile with better bioavailability.
Kartik Dixit, CEO and co-founder told FoodNavigator-Asia: “Our product contains micronutrients, is significantly lower in fat, contains zero cholesterol and is high in protein.”
The firm declined to disclose the ingredients, although Dixit said they were indigenous and used typically in Indian households.
Watch EVO Foods co-founders Kartik Dixit and Shraddha Bhansali discuss their brand positioning in the plant-based market.
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Shraddha Bhansali who is also COO told us what sets the company apart from other plant-based egg companies was its mission to build an international plant-based company in India.
She explained: “India has so much crop biodiversity and we want to explore these, and use these proteins readily available to produce affordable and high quality products for the rest of the world.”
Bhansali explained the focus on egg stemmed from its versatility that transverses geographies and regions. “In the protein field, meats can have certain taboos. For instance, beef consumption in India is quite controversial, while pork is prohibited in some religions.”
Dixit explained that the firm prioritised nutrition in its product development, in addition to taste and functionality.
Texture was another important focus for EVO Foods, in creating an egg product with the right pull and sponginess.
According to Bhansali, the firm surveyed consumers prior to product development, and found out that protein content and texture were highlighted as important features in an egg.
In addition, the firm also went one step further to create an egg product that was fluffier than regular eggs.
Explaining the process, Dixit explained the firm first identified common legumes grown in India. The protein is then extracted, and undergoes treatments such as fermentation, before colours and hydrocolloids are added to create the product.
The co-founders of EVO Foods said product development will be ongoing even after the launch this year, as they work to fine tune the texture and functionality of the product.
As of now, the liquid egg has to be refrigerated, with a shelf life of six months. The firm is looking to create a shelf-stable egg product in the future, before targeting the retail market in India.
Dixit added that it would only be focusing on egg for the next three to four years, and would consider expanding the product line after that.
Besides a presence in India, the first overseas market EVO Foods is targeting is the US, which it plans to enter by April 2021 mainly through food service.
Bhansali explained that the US was a developed market for plant-based food, “we can see that with the success of Beyond and Impossible. They have a large percentage of population open to flexitarian as they don’t want to go completely vegan.”
EVO Foods is tapping onto this flexitarian mindset and currently in discussions with restaurants in New York city to do pilot trials.
In addition, many of EVO Foods advisors and investors are based in the US. The current team is made up of five staff and two advisors.
The company has raised around US$330,000 in pre-seed funding from angel investors and is backed by venture capitals Big Idea Ventures and VegInvest. The funds will be used to push the product out to the market, as well as identify facilities for future scale-up.
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