Plant Protein and Its Use in Mayo, Cookies and More

Vegans and people with allergies have long been in search of a suitable Mayo without Eggs. There have been options over time, but many of these lacked the taste and consistency of genuine mayonnaise. Often the substitutes were made using soy, but those were different in taste and impossible for people with soy sensitivity to eat. The pursuit of an alternative may have once seemed impossible, but today there is a solution on store shelves that was created by a San Francisco-based startup food company.

Eggs are used in mayo to prevent the oil and the water from separating. The egg yolk contains a material known as phospholipid lecithin whose molecules dissolve in water and oil. By doing so, the egg helps the mayo to remain creamy, rather than allowing the oil to sit on top of the water in the recipe. The challenge has been to find an ingredient that would accomplish this same task without overpowering the mild flavor of the mayo. By studying plant life, the researchers at Hampton Creek were able to look at all of the properties of different types of plants to determine if any had the same ability as eggs.

Over two years were spent studying approximately 1,500 different types of plants to find any that were able to perform similarly. Eventually, the company discovered a handful that were viable candidates. After additional careful research and a large number of experiments, they finally decided on the Canadian yellow field pea. The ingredient turned out to be a success for the company and the “Just Mayo” product was born.

Hampton Creek has decided that the research performed to make this one product was not wasted time. Their results from the studies have been carefully cataloged as they look for ways to update additional products using the plants. Their goal is to create a large line of sustainable products that are safe for nearly anyone and able to replace products that use animal-derived ingredients. Their food line currently includes an egg substitute, their original mayo and some flavored mayonnaise and several types of salad dressings. In addition, they have introduced some popular varieties of ready-made cookie dough and a pancake batter.