OnlyEg: Singapore start-up launches Asia's first commercial plant-based whole egg substitute
It looks, tastes and feels like an egg, but it's not an egg, or at least not the chicken egg you're thinking of right now. Only Eg, is Asia's first plant-based whole egg substitute — meant to provide a near perfect replication of the original chicken egg that has long been a sure staple in most of our Asian diets. The egg sub was developed by the in-house research team at Float Foods, a food tech start-up that pursues their research in alternative and plant-based produce to create a more sustainable food future for our society. Led by their founder and CEO Vinita Choolani, the announcement for the egg substitute, OnlyEg, comes only after the successful proofs-of-concepts that have been completed, garnering the support of acclaimed local research organizations such as the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI). Below, we take you through everything there is to know about the egg substitute — from what's in an OnlyEg, to its benefits in the long run.
What is OnlyEG?
It's made of legumes
Legumes are the seeds of plants that can vary from beans and peas to lentils or peanuts. The OnlyEg consists of legume-based substitutes that have been developed to ensure that two distinctly separate components have been created — both the egg yolk and the egg white.
It's the first of its kind
It is the first substitute to ever reach this level of likeness to a real chicken egg. Many other available alternatives currently out in the consumer market are liquid blends of egg substitutes that are limited to specific states such as already scrambled or fried as an omelette.
It's tailored for Asians
Due to their almost-perfect replica status, it can also be prepared and cooked into various types of cooked eggs. The point of OnlyEg was to create a plant-based food ecosystem within Singapore, hence specially catering to typical Asian meals i.e. soft boiled eggs for toast in the morning, or a sunny side up for fried rice.
Why is OnlyEG important?
Whilst 2020 may have taken a toll on many, it has also shifted significant attention and accelerated certain growth in specific industries and movements: one of which being the rebranding of the 'vegan' movement to the 'plant-based' movement. The movement seeks to be an increasingly crucial one, alongside national interests to decrease our reliance on food imports that are susceptible to global outbreaks such as the very COVID-19 pandemic we now face. This is ever so important as Asia undeniably remains the biggest consumers of chicken eggs, with Singapore consuming nearly two billion chicken eggs annually. After all, we have already witnessed rising food safety concerns earlier this year, in light of the panic buying that occurred in the midst of our nationwide circuit breaker.
According to Choolani herself: "Singapore aims to produce 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030, and as a homegrown food technology start-up, we are in an optimal place to push the plant-based movement by working along the entire supply chain to contribute towards this goal — and we're thrilled with the prospects that OnlyEg presents".
There are, of course, additional health and nutritional benefits that OnlyEg presents. This is consistent with Float Foods' plant-based food ecosystem that wishes to seek a "food as medicine" approach in their research as well. Not only will the OnlyEg be able to offer the same versatility and nutritional value of the regular egg, but it will also be able aid in mitigating the potential for animal-to-human disease transmissions, hormonal or antibiotic residue and most definitely, serve as the most suitable alternative should we face a supply chain disruption.
What's next for OnlyEg and Float Foods?
The Float Foods team will now be prepping the OnlyEg for the commercial market due for 2022, and we can expect to see a series of other licensed plant-based products being released over the next few years.
The team is gearing up for the expected shifts in the consumer market — as it aims to balance food safety, our increased demand for more plant-based options and our desire to maintain an Asian diet.