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Independent Evaluation of Just Scramble®

05/16/2018

Laudatory and self-serving articles have appeared on Food Dive and kindred websites favoring Josh Tetrick and his company, Hampton Creek, now renamed Just for reasons that are obscure. A somewhat more moderate tone was evident in a published review on a range of vegetable-based foods in the May 2018 edition of The Future of Everything, a supplement to The Wall Street Journal.

The article contains a review of Just Scramble®, which is based on mung beans serving as a substitute for scrambled egg. The product is apparently available in “select San Francisco and Hong Kong restaurants”. Just Scramble will be offered in “select grocery stores” later in 2018. The reviewer reported that “The surprisingly eggy flavor is faint but with an unfortunate sweetness coming from mung beans which contain polysaccharides that register as sweetness on taste buds”. The reviewer commented that the sweetness associated with the product can be masked by “a few dashes of your preferred hot sauce.” It is noted that a high level of complex polysaccharides in a diet could affect intestinal passage time and disrupt the intestinal microbiome. In comparisons of real eggs and substitutes, food reviewers do not consider nutrient values including amino acids, minerals and vitamins which are supplied by eggs. There is more to the comparison than taste, sentiment and hype.   


A healthy real scrambled egg meal

Ben Roche, the Director of Product Development at Just, responsible for the Scramble product noted “These eggs are a work in progress and we are constantly tinkering, improving the flavors and textures.”

Cultured meat was alluded to in the Future of Everything article.  Tetrick has promoted the new product from his presently-named company claiming that it has the potential to render conventional animal agriculture obsolete. He did however acknowledge that “the current price per pound was unnecessarily high” and apparently omitted to say that cell culture requires bovine serum which would detract from vegetarian status. He hopes to reduce the cost before lab-grown meat becomes available from Hampton Creek/Just “at the end of 2018”. If the company is only months away from commercialization, why were no samples available for evaluation? In any event there are immense regulatory hurdles relating to FDA oversight and labelling to overcome before marketing in the U.S. so the 2018 claim is spurious.

 Both Memphis Meats of the U.S. and Future Meat Technology of Israel have solid scientific and business pedigrees. These companies employ established scientists who have made available products at demonstrations and have published in peer-reviewed journals on their research and development. They have both attracted investments from Tyson Foods in addition to venture capitalists rather than from speculators. Future Meat Technologies currently calculates a $100 per lb. price but anticipates a sharp reduction given technology and scale to achieve a cost of $3 to $5 per lb. by 2020.