Meat, eggs and milk, which plays an important role in Chinese consumers’ dining tables, now have all vegetarian choices.
Xiaoshidai noticed that after the limited time launch of vegetable meat products in 2600 restaurants across the country in October last year, Dexter, a local fast food chain, has officially launched seven kinds of vegetable egg dishes. This time, the new product made of just egg plant eggs was first launched in more than 500 Dexter restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Dalian, Changchun, Harbin, Hainan and other provinces and cities.
After many catering giants such as KFC, pizza hut, Starbucks and Xicha tried “vegetable meat”, this is the first time that a large domestic fast food chain has launched “vegetable egg” dishes. It is also the first time that the just egg vegetable egg products of American vegetable egg manufacturer eat just have landed in the Asian market.
Compared with plant milk and plant meat which have been talked about frequently in recent years, plant egg is still quite “novel” in the public eye. Will it be the next outlet? Today, xiaoshidai has connected two companies. Let’s focus on this new category.
Making “egg flavor” with mung beans
Xiaoshidai learned that this time, DEX introduced vegetable eggs into a total of seven dishes sold during breakfast, replacing the traditional egg cake with pre baked just egg, including three breakfast hamburgers, three bagel sandwiches and a whole western style bagel meal.
“This cooperation with just egg gives priority to putting vegetable eggs into our breakfast products. The purpose is to let more young consumers in China pay attention to breakfast, contact and try vegetable eggs, and help spread the concept of healthy and environmental protection.” Xie Yahui, chief marketing officer of DEX, told xiaoshidai.
When talking about the reasons for choosing just egg, she described it as “the most egg like vegetable egg” and “very close” to eggs in terms of color, aroma and cooking experience. According to the public information of xiaoshidai, the parent company eat just owns the patented technology of extracting plant protein from mung bean.
“Just egg is mainly made from mung beans. We also use natural carotene and other ingredients for color matching, as well as other accessories.” Zhang Tao, marketing director of East just in China, told xiaoshidai today that just egg has experienced two generations of product upgrades since it first launched the vegetable egg made from mung bean in 2018.
Zhang Tao said that from the perspectives of cooking, color, aroma and so on, just egg hopes to be as close as possible to the experience of eggs. “So we basically have product iterations every year. We will make some improvements in these areas, and of course we will continue to optimize the cost.”
For plant meat, the price is more expensive than traditional meat, which is a big obstacle to its promotion. Xiaoshidai learned that the cost of vegetable eggs is also higher than that of traditional eggs. However, the price of Dexter’s new products did not rise this time. “At present, the price of vegetable eggs is much higher than that of traditional eggs, but this sale is mainly motivated by the promotion of vegetable eggs, rather than purely for profit considerations.” Xie explained.
She said that in the future, DEX will also actively assess the possibility of turning vegetable egg products into national normal products according to consumer reactions. “Some of the listed areas selected this time are cities with relatively more developed breakfast market and higher consumer health and environmental protection concept. The test results of these cities can better help us push our products to the whole country. ” She said.
Who is the audience?
Up to now, East just has only two products: just eggplant egg liquid and just eggplant egg flake. Xiaoshidai learned that this cooperation with Dexter is also the first launch of just egg vegetable egg chips in the Asian market.
Another product, just egg, has entered the Chinese market as early as 2019. It is sold through just wechat store, Jingdong, tmall, and evermarket, a food e-commerce platform. Recently, it has also entered the first store of green common in the mainland. The creative restaurant uses vegetable eggs in a variety of dishes and desserts, including all vegetarian sandwiches made with vegetable pork “omnipork new meal meat”, just egg vegetable egg liquid and vegetable butter.
In the view of this emerging brand of vegetable egg, the two selling points of “health” and “food safety” are the most attractive to Chinese consumers.
“Now Chinese consumers, whether they are consuming vegetable eggs or vegetable meat, I think the main attraction is two points: first, they are healthy; second, they are more at ease. For example, there is no risk of antibiotics. They will choose vegetable eggs because of the characteristics of these products. In Europe and the United States, more consumers may eat plant-based food for sustainable or animal welfare reasons. ” Zhang Tao told xiaoshidai.
He said that Chinese consumers have high requirements for food taste. “Frankly speaking, we are not able to achieve 100% of the same as eggs (taste and taste) at this stage, so we will also develop cooking recipes, pay attention to the collocation of food materials, and make a dish that consumers like as a whole.”
This is also one of the focuses of just egg’s consumer education in the Chinese market. In October last year, the brand opened a future food studio creative kitchen flash shop in Shanghai, offering free cooking courses to the public, using vegetable eggs and other ingredients to make all kinds of vegetarian dishes, such as tomato scrambled eggs, Thai fried rice noodles, Osaka Shao, Keli cakes, cookies, omelets and so on.
Learning “Coca Cola model”
It is disclosed that the just egg vegetable egg products currently sold in China, including the vegetable egg flakes used in the breakfast products launched in dex this time, are all produced in Canada and imported from the United States to China.
When asked about the safety of imported food under the epidemic situation, Zhang Tao told xiaoshidai that all just egg products will show nucleic acid test reports when entering the Chinese customs. In addition, in the process of packaging and production in Canadian factories, necessary measures are also taken to prevent virus infection.
On the e-commerce platform, the price of just egg plant egg liquid is about 49 yuan per bottle, and each bottle of egg liquid is about 7-8 eggs. That means it costs about twice as much as an ordinary egg. “But we are confident that within two years, we will reduce the cost by taking some different measures, such as localized production and increasing the protein yield, which will be close to that of ordinary eggs.” Zhang Tao told xiaoshidai.
Xiaoshidai noted that in October 2020, eat just announced a partnership with a consortium led by proterra investment partners Asia PTE. Ltd., an investment management company focusing on food and agricultural integrated enterprises, to establish and operate plant protein production facilities in Singapore to meet the demand for just egg plant products in Asia, including China.
Interestingly, when talking about East just’s future expansion plan in China, Zhang Tao described that the company would adopt a “Coca Cola like approach”.
“With our own business model, we still hope to promote our vegetable egg products in different channels, whether retail or catering, by virtue of our future strategic partners of downstream suppliers.” Zhang Tao told xiaoshidai, “it’s a bit like the way Coca Cola cooperates with its bottling partners, such as COFCO Coca Cola.”
“We have our strategic partner Michael foods in the United States. We will give them the refined protein powder. They will add excipients and water, fill it, and then help us distribute it.” He said that the new plant built in Singapore by eat just will also be a plant for producing such “protein powder” in the future.
Therefore, Zhang Tao said that eat just would be a company with relatively light assets. “We will not build a huge sales team, or we will rely on our future small partners to do large-scale development. If the partners can also achieve localized production, then supply is not a problem.” “At present, we have talked about some potential partners, and it is expected that the relevant cooperation will be implemented this year,” he said