Housing, Dining, and Hospitality recently partnered with JUST Inc. to bring a vegan egg alternative to campus. Currently served in Roots, the egg alternative marks UC San Diego’s most recent push into the vegan food industry.
HDH’s partnership with JUST began a couple of years ago after they introduced the company’s vegan mayonnaise into several dining halls throughout campus. However, aside from this product, vegan options on campus have been for the most part limited.
According to JUST’s website, their vegan egg is made primarily from mung bean, which is a type of legume from southeast Asia, and turmeric, which gives the egg a similar color to scrambled eggs. The liquid form of the egg, which is a similar consistency to pre-cooked scrambled eggs, provides 5 grams of protein per serving. Unlike traditional eggs, the JUST egg has 0 grams of cholesterol.
JUST’s Director of Foodservice Partnerships Kevin Thorne spoke to the UCSD Guardian about the company’s step into the national university dining market, where the company currently provides JUST Egg to over 60 universities across the country.
“Consumer demand is a prominent factor in dining hall decision-making,” Thorne said. “Students are increasingly asking for plant-based options, and we make a product that is plug-and-play. It tastes like an egg, cooks like an egg, and has about the same amount of protein. That makes it easy for campuses to incorporate it.”
Thorne went on to say how, like at UCSD, university partnerships with JUST initially began a couple of years ago with other products like their vegan mayonnaise.
“Since day one, we’ve been committed to working with schools and universities to serve better food across campus,” Thorne said. “We started working with this sector early on, supplying dining service operators with our early flagship products — plant-based mayos, dressings, cookies —that were served across dining halls in the US.”
Thorne later discussed how JUST’s vegan egg and other products are served throughout the San Diego area beyond the UCSD campus, including at local restaurants and in grocery stores like Whole Foods Market and Vons.
While JUST Egg’s incorporation into HDH is UCSD’s first step into the mainstream vegan food market, other products may soon follow. Impossible Foods Inc., another major player in the vegan food industry, gained mainstream attention earlier this year after it developed a partnership with Burger King, which has a location on campus in Price Center.
Likewise, research suggests that those who are a part of Gen Z, who make up the majority of the undergraduate student body, are much more open to vegan options, and that this interest has the potential to create a $5.2 billion market for alternative meat products.
JUST Egg is currently available in Roots, being served in the dining hall’s breakfast burrito, vegan breakfast plate, and soyrizo breakfast plate. No plans as of the writing of this article have been made to expand the presence of JUST Egg into other on campus dining facilities.