A selection of vegan eggs sold in local grocery stores. Photo by Avery Yale Kamila

Price and other concerns about chicken eggs have sent many shoppers scrambling for alternatives in recent months. The good news is that there have never been more plant-based eggs on the market, and these vegan eggs have never looked, tasted or felt so similar to chicken eggs. But that’s not all: More vegan eggs are on the way.

Long ago, vegans invented a laundry list of plant-based hacks to replace eggs in baking recipes (such as a flax egg made by mixing one tablespoon ground flax seed with three tablespoons water) and then there was the more recent aquafaba revolution after vegans discovered chickpea liquid could be whipped into a meringue, but today the commercial options for vegan eggs that stand on their own are nothing short of miraculous.

Some might say wonderful, as in WunderEggs, the newest vegan egg to enter the retail market. WunderEggs, a vegan hardboiled egg from Austin, Texas-based Crafty Counter, hit the national market this year, selling exclusively at Whole Foods in the egg cooler. In 2022, when WunderEggs debuted at the health food trade show Expo West, it won an award for best new vegan product.

The hardboiled vegan eggs, which sell in packs of six egg halves (recently priced at $8.29), look and feel so realistic that unsuspecting egg eaters may have a hard time detecting a difference. The relatively short ingredient list includes almonds, cashews, coconut milk, salt, agar, yeast, konjac, rosemary extract, natural flavor and turmeric and annatto for color. A packet of eggy-smelling black salt (also known as kala namak) is included with the eggs to be sprinkled on each before eating.

My non-vegetarian husband is my go-to taste-tester for new vegan foods. While the extreme similarity between WunderEggs and a sliced, hardboiled chicken egg is uncanny and makes people like me who haven’t eaten eggs in decades a little wary, my husband was psyched to see these look-alikes in our home and ate one without hesitation, pronouncing it “exactly the same” as a hardboiled egg.

Another vegan egg company that has been around for much longer is San Francisco-based Eat Just (branded as Just Egg on its labels), which was founded in 2011. Its flagship product is a bottle of vegan scrambled egg mix. The Just Egg liquid is made from mung bean protein, canola oil, seasonings, thickeners and carrot and turmeric extract to give the vegan eggs a yellow color.


The company has been using the current crisis at chicken confinement facilities to tout its wares. Since last year, zoonotic bird flu has been sickening commercial flocks of chickens, turkeys and ducks, causing factory farm managers to kill the birds, and leading to price hikes and supply disruptions. In January, Eat Just purchased a full-page ad in the New York Times featuring photos of its bottled scrambled egg mix paired with the headline: “Plants don’t get the flu.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since the start of 2022 there have been 828 outbreaks of H5N1, avian influenza, in captive bird flocks in the U.S. Nearly 60 million birds have been infected, and all were killed often by means which have caused some veterinarians and animal welfare groups to raise questions about cruelty.  The outbreaks include 16 in Maine affecting 1,073 birds, all at non-commercial facilities. The CDC is monitoring for any potential jumps of this troubling influenza strain into humans.

The disease outbreaks at these confinement facilities have helped make the vegan scrambled egg mix sold by Eat Just price competitive with chicken’s eggs. For example, recently Whole Foods in Portland was selling 18-ounce bottles of liquid chicken’s eggs for $8.99, while 12-ounce bottles of vegan Just Egg were on sale for $3.79 (regular price, $4.79). The chicken’s eggs cost 49 cents an ounce while the vegan eggs cost 31 cents an ounce, on sale, or 39 cents an ounce, when not on sale.

Eat Just also has a range of products, including folded scrambled egg patties that can be reheated for breakfast sandwiches and sous vide egg bites with either American- or Mexican-inspired seasonings and ingredients, such as potatoes, black beans and chili powder. In March, the company released its first flavor of Just Egg meals called chili crisp, featuring Just Egg pieces mixed with sugar snap peas, red peppers, carrots and chili sauce.

The Hodo Foods tofu company, based in Oakland, California, sells a crumbled tofu mixed with turmeric, nutritional yeast, black salt and seasonings. Hodo calls it an All-Day Egg Scramble.

The Forage bagel shops in Portland and Lewiston make a plant-based egg from tofu using a similar mix of black salt and seasonings. The tofu egg patty is added to Forage’s vegan breakfast sandwich. Three national businesses, Aroma Joe’s, 7-Eleven and the Barnes & Noble Cafe, recently added vegan egg sandwiches to their menus. All three use Just Eggs.


More innovation is on the way. Yo Egg, based in Israel with a new production facility in California, creates realistic-looking vegan poached eggs and sunny-side up vegan eggs. In February, the poached eggs, which ooze a yellow vegan yolk when cut, debuted in the U.S. on menus at restaurants in Los Angeles.

Home cooks are also upping their egg-inspired creativity. The spring issue of VegNews magazine highlights vegan eggs on its cover. Inside, a 10-page spread includes recipes for making realistic-looking vegan fried eggs, poached eggs, egg yolks and hollandaise sauce for vegan eggs Benedict. The recipe for making vegan fried eggs calls for tofu, tapioca flour, soy milk, agar and black salt blended together and fried to create the egg white.

The yolk is more complicated and requires a bit of molecular gastronomy. It starts with yellow or orange tomatoes, which are oven roasted, and then blended with seasonings and calcium lactate, a thickener. Next, comes the molecular gastronomy part of the recipe where sodium alginate (derived from seaweed) is mixed with water and then a scoop of the egg yolk mixture is dropped into the sodium alginate bath, where it sits briefly, before being removed and plunged into cold water. The sodium alginate preserves the yolk in a spherical shape. The yolk is then set aside while the egg white mixture is poured onto a hot skillet. Finally, the yolk is added to the center of the egg white and the whole egg cooks until the edges of the egg white become slightly crispy.

All this creativity is translating into increased vegan egg sales. According to the Plant Based Foods Association’s recently released State of the Marketplace report, vegan egg sales jumped 65 percent during the past three years, with the largest annual increase occurring in 2020. In addition, the report found 33 percent of shoppers who buy plant-based eggs, meats and dairy products “are concerned about the risks associated with animal-based foods, such as the presence of antibiotics or hormones, or their potential to be vectors of disease (e.g. salmonella, E. coli, viruses, etc.).”

In 2022, sales of “plant-based eggs grew 14% in dollars and 21% in units. Comparatively, animal-based eggs grew 47% in dollars, yet declined by 1% in units. Pricing increases for animal-based eggs fueled by Avian flu and subsequent shortages are reflected in the increase in dollar growth paired with declining unit sales,” the report said.

The bottom line is: It is an excellent (or should I say, eggs-cellent?) time for dining on vegan eggs.

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in downtown Portland. She can be reached at avery.kamila@gmail.com.

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