While plant-based egg products are hitting grocery shelves and restaurant kitchens, it remains to be seen whether consumers will adopt these products en masse.
Companies like JUST Egg and Yo! Egg have begun providing consumers with plant-based egg options, but higher price points and a lack of versatility could represent market headwinds for these makers.
That said, plant-based egg products have been garnering consumer interest, but it is still a small industry compared to the traditional egg market, senior Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus told The Food Institute recently. “We are seeing strong growth, but it is off an admittedly small base.”
Price Pressures on Plant-Based Eggs
Wells Fargo Sector Analyst Courtney Schmidt believed inflationary pressures would keep most consumers focused on traditional shell eggs.
“Plant-based egg products continue to hold a premium to conventional egg products. Comparing price per serving, a search of Walmart.com shows a popular plant-based egg product at 49 cents/serving, compared to conventional shell eggs at 19 cents/serving and liquid egg whites at 25 cents/serving,” she told the Food Institute recently.
“Given the premium over conventional eggs and tight consumer budgets, plant-based egg products may struggle to attract traditional egg consumers to consistently purchase their product in the next year.”
Lack of Versatility
Karyn Rispoli, egg market reporter with Urner Barry, also did not see the nascent plant-based egg category as a threat to traditional shell eggs in the near-term.
“Most people seeking plant-based alternatives were not likely eating eggs to begin with…Eggs are not just a center-of-the plate protein, but also an ingredient. And here, too, plant-based alternatives may struggle to provide the same level of functionality that eggs provide in baking and food manufacturing,” she said.
Eggs Unlimited Global Trade Strategist Brian Moscogiuri agreed with the general argument, saying that a “full turn-key replacement solution” was not yet available to provide the functional and health benefits that real eggs provide.
“If we are talking about inflation and consumers trading down, it is going to be a tough environment for a competitor to come in and really take any major market share in my opinion. Now if it was only [HPAI] driving prices, I think we would see a lot more replacement like we did in 2015, but we are in a much different climate today,” he said.