Egg replacement manufacturers are meeting the demand for egg-reducing and egg alternative solutions without compromising on taste and nutrition
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Concerns about animal welfare and sustainability as well as egg allergies and cost are making egg replacement and reduction an imperative for food and beverage brands. Because eggs play a central role in a range of products—from ice cream to hamburger buns—egg replacement innovations are in demand across the industry.
This growing desire for egg-free and reduced-egg products poses a major challenge for producers that rely on eggs for binding, thickening and emulsification as well for characteristics such as adding gloss to a bakery glaze. Here’s an analysis of some of the many ways eggs are utilised in food and beverage production, along with suggestions for how egg-free innovations are rising to meet functional challenges without compromising on taste or nutrition.
The market for egg alternatives
The rising interest in egg alternative solutions has been accelerated by proposed EU legislation to ban cages in animal agriculture by 2027, as well as increasingly volatile egg prices across the globe.
The growing consumer demand for vegan products is also a major contributing factor to the egg-free movement, with 24% of consumers now actively looking for ‘vegan friendly’ claims on food and beverage products, per Innova Market Insights.
At the same time, consumers who eat eggs are seeking out claims such as ‘cage free’ on egg-based products. Because of the important functionality of eggs as well the cost of cage free eggs, reducing egg content through reformulation is an alternative way for manufacturers to move to a cage free egg supply chain with minimal cost implications.
Egg alternatives for whipping
Egg whites play a key role in the formulation of aerated confectionery products such as marshmallow and nougat, due to their whipping and stabilizing properties. However, for companies looking to eliminate egg from their products, there are now dairy and plant protein solutions available which can replicate these properties and still provide an exceptionally consistent whipping performance.
Egg alternatives for bakery glazes
When using eggs to glaze products at home or in traditional bakeries, a whole egg is diluted with a small amount of water. (The dilution of the egg is required due to the viscosity, difficulty in application and gelatinous characteristics of the egg.) Eggs are used in glazing for their film-forming properties and the proteins and lipids in eggs are responsible for producing the shine after baking or dry out.
Thanks to new innovations, egg-free alternatives are now able to add a golden shine and artisanal finish to applications such as brioche, bread rolls, buns and croissants. For example, Kerry’s Golden Gloss premium bakery glaze solution contains pea protein, which is the film forming protein, along with sunflower oil, which is the lipid that provides the premium golden shine.
A key benefit of egg replacement glazes is their ability get a higher and more consistent shine without dilution problems or running, and eliminating the development of gaps or bubbles. When using eggs, there are natural variabilities and inconsistencies due to the egg’s age and viscosity which can affect final product quality. With egg replacement glazes, bakers simply spray on an even, homogenous glaze mixture, which provides a consistent shine quality.
Improved food safety is another major benefit of egg replacement glazes, due to the microbiological qualities of eggs which can increase food safety risks. For this reason, using egg requires an additional washing step in the process. By using an egg alternative glaze, bakers can eliminate steps, calibrate shine and attain desired product colour.
Egg alternatives in baked goods
Eggs provide batter stability, texture, moistness and enhance eating quality to baked goods. When used in a baking mixture, eggs provide emulsification properties, desired viscosity, thickening, flavour and nutrition.
Engineering an egg replacer with those product attributes could require many different ingredients, increasing the complication of production as well as the length of the ingredient deck, which could reduce appeal for consumers.
However, opportunities exist for egg reduction which allows for the maintenance of the baked goods quality. Specialised enzyme solutions such as Biobake™ can enable the reduction of egg content by up to 20% in baked goods, providing a cost effective, clean label and sustainable solution for bakery manufacturers.
To learn more about our egg replacement technologies, or to partner on creating a low- or no-egg product, contact us.