JUST, the San Francisco plant-based food company mostly known for its vegan egg products has brought out a series of sous vide vegan egg bites. I’ve bought three of the four available varieties at the Grocery Outlet (around $3 for a box of four egg bites, compared to a normal price of around $8). Here are the four varieties available (I’ve tried the first three), each one inspired by a different country:
Japan: portobello mushrooms, yams, togarashi, soy, and tamari.
Mexico: roasted poblanos, chipotle chile powder, black beans, corn, and lime.
America: roasted potato, dill, chives, red bell pepper, and black pepper.
India: curry, broccoli, cauliflower, coconut milk, and lemongrass.
The first thing to note is that you can cook these in the oven for 40 minutes or microwave for about 2 min. I don’t have a microwave but tried them out in a friend’s one and preferred this method for cooking. Besides taking a lot less time and energy to cook, the microwaved egg bites had a texture fairly similar to that of egg bites made from hen’s eggs (which seem to be all the rage in café chains, these days). The oven-cooked egg bites were a little drier and could become rubbery if cooked for a bit too long.
My favorite of the three I tried was probably the America variety, probably because I love potatoes and find the combination comforting. My microwave-owning friend liked the Japan variety best, and we both agreed that Mexico was quite good too. So, I guess you can’t go too wrong 🙂
JUST vegan egg bites – Ingredients
Inspired by America (roasted potato, red bell pepper, dill):
Water, Vegan Creme (water, soybean oil, natural flavors, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin), Potatoes, Bell Pepper and Onion, Mung Bean Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Canola Oil, Green Onion, Corn Starch, Contains less than 2% of Spices, Salt, Yeast Flakes (dried yeast, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamin hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, cyanocobalamin), Tapioca Syrup Solids, Soy Lecithin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Gellan Gum, Sugar, Chives, Potassium Citrate, Dill, Citric Acid, Transglutaminase, Carrot Extractives (color), Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Turmeric Extractives (color), Nisin (preservative).
Inspired by Mexico (roasted poblano, black beans, chili powder):
Water, Vegetable Blend (poblano pepper, roasted corn, black bean, green pepper, red pepper), Vegan Creme (water, soybean oil, natural flavors, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin), Mung Bean Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Canola Oil, Corn Starch, Contains less than 2% of Cilantro, Salt, Cumin, Distilled Vinegar, Red Pepper, Chipotle Peppers, Tomatoes, Vinegar, Soybean Oil, Dried Onions, Dried Garlic, Spices, Yeast Flakes (dried yeast, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamin hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, cyanocobalamin), Tapioca Syrup Solids, Soy Lecithin, Paprika, Sugar, Lime Zest, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Chipotle Chili Peppers, Gellan Gum, Potassium Citrate, Citric Acid, Transglutaminase, Ancho Chili Pepper Powder, Carrot Extractives (color), Turmeric Extractives (color), Nisin (preservative).
Here are some notes on nutrition, from the JUST website:
The canola oil we source for our retail products is a non-GMO, expeller-pressed oil. We don’t use any chemical solvents in the extraction process.
JUST Egg has 67 percent less saturated fat and a similar amount of protein as a chicken egg (about 6 g). It’s also free of cholesterol and full of good-for-you polyunsaturated fat. [That refers to the JUST egg liquid product but the egg-bites are in the same ballpark]
JUST sous vide egg bites – Nutrition Facts
JUST egg – sustainability
Here are some numbers that are oft quoted on the JUST website:
Water: It takes 53 gallons of water to produce a single chicken egg. It’s not because of thirsty chickens; it’s because of the water that goes into growing so much feed. By making JUST Egg directly from plants, we use 98 percent less water.
Land: More than three-quarters of the world’s farmable land goes to animal agriculture, yet it produces only 18 percent of our calories. By making JUST Egg directly from plants, we use 86 percent less land.
Summary: Our plant-based JUST Egg uses 98% less water, emits 93% fewer carbon dioxide equivalents and uses 86% less land than conventional animal sources.
This is communicated on a very fancy webpage showing these numbers but finding the data behind them is not so clear-cut. I eventually found links to the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology and JUST’s 2020 Impact Report from the JUST FAQs page. I read through the LCA paper and found it to be opaque, particularly as it doesn’t appear to cover a straight comparison to egg – it’s more about egg-containing products such as mayo. I’ve written to JUST for clarification but have not received a response yet.
I can attest to the low footprint of mung beans, but it would be nice to have more clear information from JUST on calculation of the impact of their final products.
Ethical rating for JUST vegan egg bites
Here’s a summary of how I feel about the social and environmental impact of JUST vegan egg bites, which I’m rating 4.5 out of 5 Green Stars:
- All JUST products are vegan. Adopting a plant-based diet is the top thing you can do to mitigate deforestation & climate change and to end animal cruelty and the insidious negative impact that the meat industry has on society.
- JUST’s key ingredient, the mung bean, is a legume that reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizer by fixing nitrogen from the air, has very low water requirements, and enriches the soil in which it is grown.
- Canola oil is non-GMO and expeller-pressed. None of the ingredients are organic but JUST does have a bunch of policies about ingredient sourcing – souring only from existing agricultural land, no converted forests or high conservation value habitats, and JUST encourages sustainable soil management practices.
- JUST calculated the impact (greenhouse gases, water, and land) of its ingredients but the information does not appear to include the final product manufacturing footprint.
- JUST’s 2020 report mentioned goals, such as the 2021 goal of the “Introduction of contract farming to build equitable sourcing from farm to product.” However, JUST isn’t communicating updates on these issues – the website is big on graphics but information is scant.
- Overall, JUST is on a mission to bring sustainable alternatives to egg and meat – it just needs to do a better job at communicating on sustainability.
Summary scores (out of 5) for JUST vegan egg bites:
- 4 gold stars for quality and value
- 4.5 green stars for social and environmental impact
If you have a different opinion, please share your rating! Until next time, stay safe : )