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Hampton Creek: San Francisco startup brings plant-based protein to your plate

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If San Francisco weren't already smack dab in the center of the progressive map, Hampton Creek Foods would put it there.

The City by the Bay is the home of the forward looking start-up company Hampton Creek Foods. Recently launched into greater notoriety than ever before due to the investment interest of Bill Gates, Hampton Creek is on the cutting edge of making a difference by seeking to disrupt a global egg industry that wastes energy, pollutes the environment, causes disease outbreaks and confines chickens to inhumane, uninhabitable spaces.

Plant-based alternatives - the time has come

Plant-based alternatives to not only eggs - but poultry and other meat - promise to be good for the environment by reducing consumption of meat, which requires copious amounts of land, water and crops to produce. And as we all know, switching to plant-based protein alternatives is better for human health as well.

"Our approach is to use plants that are much more sustainable — less greenhouse gas emissions, less water, no animal involved and a lot more affordable — to create a better food system," says Josh Tetrick, Hampton Creek's CEO.

Hampton Creek's first product — Just Mayo, its signature mayonnaise product— is sold for roughly the same price as the traditional variety. Soon Hampton Creek will start selling cookie dough and a batter that scrambles like eggs when cooked.

My visit to Hampton Creek Foods

I had the distinct pleasure this week of touring the Hampton Creek Foods facility - and tasting the food products, including those in development - such as the scrambled egg. To be honest, every item I tasted fired on all cylinders for my tastes, without hesitation or exception. The cookie dough instantly traveled me back in time to when I would consume bowls of the stuff - the advantage this time of being no raw egg with its accompanying salmonella poisoning potential.

The Hampton Creek chef's team then prepared for me a sample omelet of the egg replacement product now in development. Their "scrambled egg" is called Just Scramble, with "Beyond Eggs" being the key ingredient (in place of the chicken's egg). Beyond Eggs is comprised from eleven plants that Hampton Creek has discovered perform the same functions of an egg: emulsifying, coagulating, and binding. They've put "Beyond Eggs" in the Just Mayo instead of eggs, inside Eat The Dough instead of eggs, and they scramble our "Beyond Eggs" to make "Just Scramble". The texture and taste - right down to the slightly sour undertones I remember from my egg-eating days - were delicious, and in my opinion the product is ready for market.

Hampton Creek is going the extra mile, however, to put their "Just Scramble" over-the-top. Hopefully soon we'll have access to this egg replacement - cholesterol and cruelty free as its protein content comes from plants.

Their Just Mayo tastes - to me - better than the product that it is replacing: mayonnaise. The overwhelming egg flavor of mayonnaise has never appealed to me - and with out eggs on the label of Just Mayo, this isn't a problem. Just Mayo - "where taste and sustainability live on the same plate" - is cholesterol free and is made with non-GMO canola oil. Hampton Creek makes four tasty varieties of Just Mayo: Creamy Original, Chipotle, Sriracha, and Garlic Aioli, all of which I had the chance to sample. Just Mayo is now available at Whole Foods Market, though at this point just the Creamy Original. Watch for the other varieties coming soon.

More about Hampton Creek and CEO Josh Tetrick

The personable, dashing yet down-to-earth CEO and founder of Hampton Creek is Josh Tetrick. Prior to founding Hampton Creek, Josh led a United Nations business initiative in Kenya, worked for both former President Clinton and the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and taught street children as a Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria and South Africa. Josh is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School.

Hampton Creek works very closely with the Humane Society of the United States and was actually co-founded by their Director of Food Policy and Josh Tetrick's longtime friend, Joshua Balk. And a little known fact - the name "Hampton" actually comes from Josh Balk's beloved St. Bernard, Hampton.

More about Hampton Creek at their website:

http://hamptoncreekfoods.com/

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