China Food

The world’s largest vegetable egg brand regards China as the largest market in the future! We talked to the founder of just egg

Although most Chinese consumers have not tried or even heard of “vegetable egg”, the world’s largest brand of vegetable egg is confident that China will eventually become its largest sales market in the future.

“In the end, we believe that our sales of vegetable eggs in China will surpass any other market in the world.” Josh tetrick, co-founder and chief executive of eat just, recently told xiaoshidai, “to do this, we need to provide high-quality vegetable egg products, make the products more cost-effective than conventional eggs, and build a brand that people are really interested in.”

According to the data, East just is a food technology company, which owns just egg, the world’s largest vegetable egg brand, and good meat, a cell culture meat brand. East just is the first company in the world to sell meat grown from animal cells instead of slaughtering livestock. Up to now, East just has raised more than $650 million, becoming a “unicorn enterprise” with a valuation of more than $1 billion.

Previously, in March this year, East just announced the latest round of financing of US $200 million, which will be used for capacity construction of innovative products, promotion of R & D plans, and brand development in key international markets, including China. During the above-mentioned cross ocean communication, tetrick and xiaoshidai further revealed the business progress of just egg in China, as well as the ideas for its future expansion in China.

Tonight, let’s listen to the ideas of the founder of fast company, which is rated as “the most innovative company”.

Rapid growth

Just two years after entering the Chinese market, this new brand has experienced a good growth.

Xiaoshidai learned that East just launched its first just eggplant egg product in 2018, mainly made of mung beans, and officially entered the Chinese market in May 2019. At present, there are two products sold in China: just eggplant egg liquid and just eggplant egg flake.

In terms of channels, this imported vegetable egg brand has opened online flagship stores on e-commerce platforms such as tmall and Jingdong, and merged into offline stores.

“Since its launch, we have been able to sell more than 1300 bottles a day on the e-commerce platform for a period of time, which is impressive for new products.” Tetrick told xiaoshidai that in February and March this year, just egg’s sales in e-commerce channels (including tmall and JD) increased by more than 100%.

In addition to the consumer side, the plant egg brand is also trying to develop the b-end business. Xiaoshidai introduced that at the beginning of this year, just egg and Dexter reached a cooperation, and the dishes made from just egg plant eggs were launched in more than 500 Dexter restaurants. This is the first time that a large domestic fast food chain has launched a vegetable egg dish, and it is also the first time that just egg vegetable egg products have landed in the Asian market.

On a global scale, just egg is also expanding rapidly.

“In the past year, we have expanded to more than 15000 outlets. Last year, we sold more vegetable eggs than ever before. This is a very important year for the company. ” He said. However, just egg did not separately disclose its revenue performance in China last year to xiaoshidai.

“Last year, due to the decrease in the number of people dining out in restaurants caused by the epidemic, our catering business slowed down, which may be the biggest impact. But we can see that consumer behavior has also changed, and more people have turned to the lifestyle of plant-based diet, including more people starting to consume plant eggs, which has led to a significant increase in the sales of plant eggs at the retail end. ” He said.

According to him, about 100 million plant egg products have been sold since just egg came into the market.

The plant egg company also set an ambitious goal – “in the next few years, we hope to reach more than 1 billion eggs.”. We still have a lot of work to do. In the end, we want to be the most consumed egg product in the market (i.e. No.1 in market share) Tetrick said.

Xiaoshidai noticed that despite the rapid growth, eat just has not made a profit at present. “Our goal is to be profitable by the end of this year.” Tetrick told snack. As the cell culture meat business has just started, at present, the income of eat just basically comes from just egg plant eggs.

Earlier, at the end of 2020, East just obtained the world’s first regulatory approval to use meat made directly from animal cells for human consumption. A few weeks later, in the Singapore market, good meat was sold in restaurants for the first time.

In the future, in addition to plant eggs, East just’s business in the Chinese market may also expand to cell culture meat. “At the right time, we will also sell the meat in China. It depends on when we get regulatory approval, and if so, we will be listed in China. ” Tetrick told snack.

Products and costs

In tetrick’s view, although it is a new thing, “plant egg” has great growth potential in China in the future.

“If our vegetable eggs not only satisfy consumers from the perspective of health and sustainability, but also taste delicious, even better than conventional eggs, then we can finally make them more affordable than conventional eggs. Well, I think this will undoubtedly be an egg product welcomed by Chinese consumers. ” He explained.

Tetrick told dieters that vegetable eggs are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, can reduce the risk of food such as viruses, and are beneficial to personal health by eating more vegetarians. According to the data provided by East just, compared with conventional eggs, the production process of vegetable eggs reduces water consumption by 98%, carbon dioxide emissions by 93% and land use by 86%.

In order to be as close as possible to the experience of eggs in terms of color, aroma and other dimensions, just egg will conduct product iteration every year.

“Now it has been iterated from the original version to the third version, with softer texture, better taste when chewing, and better flavor at the same time.” Tetrick said that last December, just egg launched the products currently on sale, and plans to launch the latest iterative version of the product again by the end of this year.

Continuous cost reduction is also one of the focuses of product iteration and R & D of this plant egg company.

“Our new products will be cheaper than the previous version, and our ultimate goal is to make eggs cheaper than conventional eggs.” “I think that in the next three to five years, the cost of vegetable eggs will be lower than that of conventional eggs,” tetrick told snack generation

At present, limited by the cost, the price of vegetable eggs is much higher than that of conventional eggs. Taking the Chinese market as an example, on the e-commerce platform, the price of just egg vegetable egg liquid is about 49 yuan per bottle (88 yuan before last year’s price reduction), which is about the same as the quantity of 7-8 eggs per bottle. This means that the price is still about two or three times more expensive than ordinary eggs.

In order to continue to reduce costs, tetrick said that what just egg needs to do is to do better in purchasing raw materials (i.e. mung beans), extract protein from raw materials more efficiently, and produce finished products through cooperation with local companies. “The combination of these three will eventually make our cost lower than that of conventional eggs.” He said.

“If the price of all commodities, whether mobile phones, cars or milk, is too high to be affordable, it will affect consumer demand. At this point, plant eggs are no different. So it’s very important for us to reduce costs, and we’re focused on achieving that. ” He said.

Local production

In China, just egg is seeking “local partners” and plans to further reduce costs by localizing production.

Xiaoshidai introduced that the company plans to adopt a cooperation mode similar to that between Coca Cola and Coca Cola bottling companies. Just egg produces protein powder through its own factory, and then it is handed over to the local production partners to add excipients and water for filling, manufacturing as the final product, and the local partners are responsible for distribution.

“At present, we are in contact with many potential partners in China. We need to choose one to establish a partnership to transform the protein powder extracted from mung bean, the main raw material of plant eggs, into the final product and sell it locally.” Tetrick told xiaoshidai that the company is in contact with a number of large Chinese food companies and plans to finalize it by the end of the year.

If things go well, just egg’s “biggest challenge” will be solved.

“Our products need to be shipped from North America to China, which is probably the biggest challenge just egg is facing in China. In the end, we want our Chinese partners to do most of the production. ” Tetrick told snack.

When asked about his plan to build a factory in China in the future, he told xiaoshidai that cooperation with local enterprises is the most interesting way for just egg to realize localized production at this stage.

Earlier, 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 enterprises, to establish and operate plant protein production facilities in Singapore to meet the demand of just egg plant products in Asia, including China.

Tetrick recently revealed to xiaoshidai that the Singapore factory will be put into operation before the end of this year. It will become a major supplier in the Chinese market and provide the core raw material of vegetable eggs, namely protein powder extracted from mung beans.

target audience

The innovative food company’s “full confidence” in its development in China comes partly from the high acceptance of new things by Chinese consumers.

“Imagine more than a decade ago, if I said that I would run a large coffee chain in China, most people would think that it would not work, because China is more tea culture than coffee culture, and perhaps the price would be more expensive for many Chinese consumers. But Starbucks did. Now, Starbucks has become the lifestyle of many Chinese consumers. ” Tetrick said.

In tetrick’s view, Chinese consumers may be more willing to embrace change than consumers anywhere else, as long as they think it can make their lives better, whether it’s cars, coffee or mobile phones, or the way they order food.

“That’s something we’re excited about. As long as our products can improve people’s lives, it can promote a wide range of changes in consumer behavior, so I believe that vegetable eggs have great growth potential in the Chinese market. ” He said.

Tetrick told xiaoshidai that the target consumers of just egg are young people between the ages of 21 and 45, who are college educated and live in first tier cities, and they are concerned about whether the goods they buy can make them feel good about themselves. “So, to some extent, our audience also includes consumers who may choose vegetable milk oatly or electric cars.”

“I don’t think there’s much difference between a 29 year old Shanghai woman who graduated from college, for example, and a woman of similar age who had a college education in San Francisco or New York. At the end of the day, what they need is something that makes them feel good, tastes great and affordable. ” He said.

In order to establish brand awareness and better attract target consumer groups, just egg, like many new products, has chosen “experiential marketing”.

For example, in October last year, the company opened a 21 day future food studio creative kitchen flash shop in Shanghai, where consumers can cook and taste vegetable egg products, as well as purchase them on site. “Both young couples and parents with children love our food and are willing to buy it. In the future, we will hold more such activities to educate consumers. ” Tetrick said.

In fact, more and more “big players” are pouring into the plant-based market.

For example, xiaoshidai has introduced that Nestle and Unilever have added to the plant meat market. But tetrick doesn’t seem to be worried about the increased competition it may face in the future. “Whether big companies or other companies decide to invest in plant eggs and breeding meat, we will do it, and the investment will not change.”

“And the reality is that although big companies do have a lot of resources, their energy is also very scattered, and we only focus on two things, which enables us to lead the trend today.” Like Tesla, he says, “if a company has a highly focused mission, a team that believes in it, and unique technology, it can often become a leader in the industry. That’s what we want to do. “

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