Josh Tetrick, founder and CEO of Hampton Creek Foods, isn’t the first person to try to convince people to eat fewer animal products (after all, someone manufactured the Tofurky that I eat every Thanksgiving), but he’s not satisfied with what’s already out there.
“Let’s face it, a lot of vegans have low standards,” Tetrick said — and he’s a vegan himself.
His point: There are plenty of meat and animal product substitutes available, but people usually eat them because they’re vegan/vegetarian, not because the food is particularly good. Tetrick, on the other hand, is hoping to create plant-based foods that are actually better than the animal products they replace. And his company just launched its first product, Beyond Eggs.
This initial version of Beyond Eggs works as an egg replacer in baked goods. After all, Tetrick said, “You don’t eat the Twinkie because of the eggs,” so it’s hard to imagine anyone getting too worked up if they find out that their Twinkie wasn’t made with a plant-based alternative, especially if the Beyond Eggs product is also healthier, cheaper, and results in better-tasting food. (Eventually, Tetrick said he’s hoping to replace the scrambled eggs too, and also to launch other replacement products.)
When I visited the Hampton Creek office in San Francisco, I didn’t actually try any Twinkies, but I did a taste test comparing regular cookies with those that include Beyond Eggs. I didn’t consistently prefer the Beyond Eggs cookies, but I did some of the time. Even when I didn’t, the cookies tasted so similar that it was hard to decide.
Our video tour of the Hampton Creek office should give you some sense of how Tetrick hopes to accomplish his goals. It really feels like several different businesses pushed together — there’s a typical startup office area where everyone’s gathered together on their laptops, but also a lab where scientists test different types of protein, and a kitchen where Hampton Creek products are put to use in cookies, sauces, and more.
Beyond Eggs ingredients include peas, sunflower lecithin, canola, and natural gums. In addition to being vegan, it’s also gluten-free and cholesterol free. You can read more about it here and sign up for a free sample here.
Hampton Creek has attracted the backing of Khosla Ventures, with $2 million raised total.