A More Sustainable Egg From Self-Sufficiency Seeking Singapore - Alt-Egg Exploration #5
This non-GMO canola protein-based egg has a shelf life of over a year and offers a versatile alternative for Singapore's fragile supply of eggs.
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Happy Tuesday Market Shakers. Today’s newsletter ventures to Singapore where we meet the startup that’s developing a plant-based egg from non-GMO canola protein. Hegg aims to become a reliable alternative to eggs that will ensure consumers around the world can access a sustainable supply of this staple food.
Singapore Needs (H)egg
Over 90% of all food in Singapore is imported. Eggs included. This means over 70% of the 388 eggs your average Singaporean consumes every year are produced overseas.
In the era of turbulent supply chains, it’s only a matter of time before cracks begin to show in Singapore’s egg supply. In fact, it’s already starting to happen. Over the past year, egg prices in Singapore have soared. A key contributing factor is rising production costs in Malaysia. Farmers have reduced their output, creating fears of shortages and upping prices.
The Singaporean government is hatching plans to create a more sustainable food supply. Welcoming Japan’s largest egg company, ISE Holdings, to establish a production facility in Singapore earlier this year, was a step towards this goal.
Singapore is also a role model to the world for how to build a sustainable alternative protein supply by supporting FoodTech innovators. Like permitting the sale of cultivated chicken or offering state-sponsored support for food and beverage startups.
Today’s interviewee is one such innovator, striving to create a sustainable alternative to eggs that keeps all the benefits without any of the birds.
Hegg is a Singaporean brand that produces tasty, healthy, and sustainable plant-based egg products. The startup was born when its parent company, Hoow Foods, a Singapore-headquartered food tech company, began to R&D an alternative egg solution to fill a market whitespace.
CEO and Co-Founder, Yau Png Ow explains that Singapore was rocked by pandemic-era supply chain turbulence.
Hegg’s flagship product is the Hegg Eggless Egg, which is a powdered type of plant-based egg. It has a shelf life of more than one year, making it a convenient product for consumers and businesses.
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In addition to the supply chain, Hegg was motivated to create a solution that overcame some of the issues of conventional egg production.
A Novel Ingredient
At the centre of Hegg’s Eggless Egg is its primary ingredient, non-GMO canola protein. The powder is nutrient-rich and protein-packed. Crucially, it also has a mild flavour profile according to Hegg Marketing Lead, Margareta Anastasia.
The Hegg team have successfully developed and co-developed a range of menus using Hegg. From fluffy cakes, cookies and pancakes to conventional savoury dishes like scrambled eggs and omelettes.
The team decided on the powder form for Hegg’s Eggless Egg to make it shelf-stable. Every pouch of Hegg’s Eggless Egg contains the equivalent of either 5 or 50 eggs. With a shelf life of one year, it's a reliable ingredient and ideal for food producers and food service.
Localization is Key
Hegg brands its Eggless Egg as an alternative to eggs rather than an egg replacement. It’s a product that appeals to vegan and flexitarian customers while at the same time, can fill in for eggs.
Kaya Jam is a Singaporean condiment that normally uses eggs.
Be a source of inspiration to your friends and colleagues today:
Seeing the success of its Eggless Kaya, Hegg is looking into applying the ‘glocal’ approach for expanding beyond Singapore.
Starting From SKUs That Consumers Are Familiar With
How have consumers responded to Hegg so far?
Despite the differences in how consumers embrace plant-based lifestyles, Hegg is growing in Singapore. The company has found success selling D2C, striking a chord with families with children who have egg allergies. An egg allergy is often lethal, so the whole family has to be careful about what they eat.
Hegg is also proving popular with bakeries in Singapore who want to develop plant-based menu items. According to Anastasia, Hegg works even for complex baked products like canelés and choux puff.
Opportunities to Grow
Hegg is in the midst of discussing distributorships with several overseas partners. They’re also looking for new food service clients in Singapore.
Zooming out to the broader Asian region, Hegg is eyeing opportunities in Japan too.
Competition in Japan in the alt-egg space is limited but stiff. Big players like Kewpie already have established brand power and alt-egg offerings. When it comes to planning its market entry, Hegg is prepared to take it step-by-step according to Yau Png Ow.
Localizing products to Japan certainly helps to earn customer acceptance. Hegg has an advantage here as they can easily adapt their product to new SKUs.
As we identified from our market research, Japanese consumers are eager to try egg alternatives. They have an appetite for healthy, versatile products. In particular, Hegg’s versatility is likely to appeal to Japanese consumers.
That said, Japanese consumers can be considered as Singapore’s egg connoisseurs. They have high expectations for taste and texture. Hegg’s strategy of dedicating time to hatching quality products that appeal to local tastes will increase their chance of hitting a home run in Japan.
A sticking point in Japan right now, however, is low awareness about alternative eggs. With a growing number of domestic and overseas players in the category showing interest in the Japanese market, there will surely be opportunities to promote category growth together.
That’s all folks
We’d like to thank the CEO and Co-Founder of Hoow Foods, Yau Png Ow, and Hegg’s Marketing Lead, Margareta Anastasia, for supporting this interview.
See you next Tuesday!
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