San Francisco-based Eat Just announced that it will officially be launching its plant-based egg product across Europe. The food tech company’s key ingredient – mung bean protein – just received approval from the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on nutrition. The regulatory approval will allow the company to begin distributing its signature JUST Egg products in several European countries beginning mid-2022.

“Bringing JUST Egg to Europe, and to millions of consumers who are choosing a healthier, more sustainable approach to eating will be one of the most important milestones for our company,” Co-founder and CEO of Eat Just said Josh Tetrick said. “I appreciate the hard work of our team and, most importantly, the thoughtfulness and rigor of the EFSA panel that led to this historic safety approval.”

The mung bean-based egg replacer launched in the United States in 2019, but recently, the company set its sights on global expansion. The company initially aimed to debut in Europe in 2021, but an unexpected delay pushed back the indeed product launch. The European approval closely follows the company’s South Africa and South Korea debuts. JUST Egg is also available in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China. The company plans to continue its worldwide expansion to bring its plant-based egg to consumers everywhere.

Eat Just developed the JUST Egg plant-based egg using a proprietary mung bean protein base. The key ingredient allows for the JUST Egg to contain higher protein levels and cook similarly to conventional animal-based eggs. The approval marks the first time the EFSA has deemed a legume-based protein substitute safe for commercial sale. The panel wrote that “safe at the proposed conditions of use” concerning both JUST Egg’s liquid egg and frozen folded egg selections.

Leading up to the panel, Eat Just partnered with the leading regulatory consulting agency GmbH to prepare for its EFSA hearing. Alongside Eat Just, the consulting firm is also working with the UK’s Food Standards Agency on a regulatory path to market. The EFSA panel’s decision will help pave the way for the region, allowing other vegan companies to begin plant-based development following Eat Just’s initial launch.

The EFSA announced that this approval is among a “growing number” of applications for novel proteins. Currently, the EFSA has 43 Novel Food applications under suitability check and 99 under risk assessments. The plant-based protein industry is rapidly rising, meaning that Eat Just’s approval helps lead the way for several other innovative protein ingredients.

“Our risk assessment of mung bean protein is an important and necessary step in the novel food evaluation process,” EFSA Scientific Officer Anotonio Fernandez said. “Through our risk assessments, we support policymakers in the EU in taking science-based decisions and ensuring the safety of consumers, while also making an important contribution to innovation in this sector.”

Plant-based food sales reached €3.6 billion ($4.2 billion) in 2020, according to a recent Nielsen data report. The stark rise is 28 percent higher than sales from the previous year, indicating that its accelerated popularity will keep rising. The plant-based egg market experienced significant growth in the last year as more consumers begin to desire alternatives to animal-based products.

“This decision is another major step forward for the future of plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy in Europe, and demonstrates that they meet the world-leading regulatory standards consumers rightly expect,” Head of Policy at the Good Food Institute Europe Alice Ravenscroft said. “Sales of plant-based foods reached €3.6 billion in Europe last year – almost doubling since 2018 – and with demand growing all the time, we look forward to seeing the JUST Egg joining the ever-growing range of sustainable options available on the continent’s supermarket shelves.”

Before the European debut, Eat Just will open its largest production facility in Singapore to expand its production and distribution capacities for its plant-based egg, and its cultured meat brand, GOOD Meat – the world’s first cultured meat company to receive regulatory approval. The company plans to boost its product accessibility throughout the region leading up to its global expansion.

How to Get Enough Iron When You’re Following a Plant-Based Diet

You may think iron is synonymous with meat, and while animal protein certainly has it, that doesn’t mean you can’t get enough iron if you eat a mainly plant-based diet. In fact, you can, if you know the right foods to choose and how to pair them. The daily recommendation from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for iron intake is 18 milligrams (mg), but not all iron sources are created equal. Here’s what plant-based eaters need to know about iron and which iron-rich foods are best to help reap the benefits.