- Canadian fast food coffee chain Tim Hortons has tapped alternative protein startup Just Egg to pilot a plant-based egg replacement, according to CNBC.
- A spokesman for Just Egg said in a statement that Canadian consumers have been one of the biggest groups interested in plant-based egg alternatives.
- Tim Hortons also offers a Beyond Meat plant-based sausage patty option for some of its breakfast items.
Tim Hortons may be looking for a way to offer a complete plant-based replacement for some of its breakfast sandwiches and other offerings. Plant-based breakfast foods are noticeably absent from most QSR breakfast menus, with just Tim Hortons and, very recently, Dunkin' adding Beyond Meat breakfast sausage patties to their menus. Having an egg option will also help restaurants capture interest from consumers who tend to avoid animal byproducts based on concerns about animal welfare or environmental health.
Tim Horton's parent company, Restaurant Brands International, has been making a huge push to go plant-based, rolling out Impossible Whoppers out nationwide at Burger King in response to what seems like surging consumer demand. But the verdict is still out on whether plant-based is an entrenched category or whether it is simply something that piques consumers' curiosity for the time being. Beef burgers are still more widely ordered than their plant-based counterparts, for example.
Just Egg, which is a replacement formulation based on mung bean protein isolate, canola oil, gums, and seasonings, is a big player in the plant-based space, and the new deal will signal to the industry that it's moving from offering CPG products like a plant-based mayonnaise alternative to an ingredients supplier. It already has distribution partnerships with Safeway and Whole Foods, as well as restaurant deals with Bareburger, Silver Diner and Gregory's Coffee.
This is an important phase for the plant-based food industry as it will help determine whether or not the new category is a trend limited a few menu items or if it will become a much bigger offering in the restaurant space. In the coming months and years, new plant-based products will be hitting the industry to replace meats like bacon, steak, chicken and fish, giving QSRs a smorgasbord of items to add to their menus if adoption continues.