plant-based eggs
Source: JUST Egg, Eat Just Inc.

Cracking open the plant-based egg industry

(5 min read)

What do the marketplaces for eggs and plant-based alternatives look like?

Eggs are one of the most consumed foods on the planet. They’ve made their way into all areas of human diets – in chilled, baked, and frozen products, and in breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The use of eggs spans cultures and cuisines, with 1.4-trillion chicken eggs being consumed around the world each year, not including eggs from other bird species.[1]

With this in mind, it’s easy to say that the demand for eggs is high. However, the animal-based egg industry is currently facing a number of challenges that threaten to destabilise the sector. 

Animal-based egg market

In the last three years, alongside the quick emergence of the plant-based egg market, the conventional egg market in the United States (US) saw a mere 2% growth with a notable 10% decrease in unit sales. The case is similar in Europe, where there was a 3% decline in the production of animal-based eggs between 2020 and 2021. [2]

Plant-based egg market

In this context, the plant-based egg industry is going from strength to strength. In the US, the percentage of households purchasing plant-based eggs increased by 50% between 2020 and 2021, amounting to 1.4% of all households. [3] Though this percentage is small, it’s growing rapidly. 

Between 2019 and 2020, the global plant-based egg sector grew by a remarkable 168%. [4] It is, however, important to acknowledge that this growth is from a low base, since the plant-based egg industry is only starting out. Such staggering exponential growth is unlikely to continue for too long. Yet, it looks set to pave the way to a highly successful industry. 

By 2029, the global plant-based egg industry is expected to account for US$11.89 billion, having escalated at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28% between 2022 and 2029. In 2022, the sector was valued at an estimated US$1.65 billion. [5]

Are the trials faced by the egg industry making way for plant-based products?

Source: Unsplash/Sandie Clarke

The animal-based egg industry faces many challenges in today’s world. It’s underscored by rampant animal-welfare, environmental, and health concerns, as well as supply issues. These challenges can help us to understand the reasons behind the plant-based egg industry’s growth, and how to continue to nurture it.

Bird flu

The global spread of avian flu (bird flu) is probably the major difficulty that the egg sector is facing. The disease is seeing chickens and other egg-laying birds around the world becoming infected, dying, and being culled on a massive scale. As of January 2023, nearly 150-million birds had died as a result of bird flu. This number expected to grow each day. 

The spread of bird flu has led to widespread egg shortages, driving up prices and limiting purchases in some stores, sending customers in search of alternatives. Indeed, the bird-flu situation is a renewed reminder of the fragility of the animal-based food system, both from a supply and price-point perspective.

“With the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, egg production may be at risk over the short-term, which can also be a potential driver for plant-based egg product growth.” [6]

Jennifer Bartashus

Senior Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst

Plant-based eggs could offer a stable solution to the shortages and high price volatility affecting the animal-based egg market, as well as a way to reduce environmental and health concerns. This solution, however, will not be achieved until plant-based eggs are more commercially available and achieve nationwide price parity with animal-based eggs. 

As the alt-egg industry matures and we see production optimised, price parity will be achieved. Fortunately, it’s already on the way – we are seeing more and more plant-based brands launching innovative egg products. As this continues, accessibility and competition will bring down costs. 

Food inflation

Record food inflation has also narrowed the price gap between animal- and plant-based eggs. In the US and Europe, animal-based egg prices have skyrocketed. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the combined, regional, large-egg weekly average price hit US$5.4 for a dozen eggs in December 2022. This was up from US$1.4 in March 2022 and from the three-year average that fluctuated around US$1. [7] In the European Union (EU), prices for large and medium eggs were up 69.3% across the bloc from November 2021 to November 2022. [8] 

Plant-based eggs range in price, depending on format and purpose. Yet, less expensive alt-eggs are slowly matching prices of premium animal-based eggs. In a few years’ time, we predict that this will be the case across the board, with plant-based eggs priced-matched with, or more affordable than, all types of animal-based eggs. 

Who is buying plant-based eggs?

plant-based egg JUST Egg
Source: JUST Egg, Eat Just Inc.

While vegans and vegetarians are indeed buying plant-based egg products, the main consumer group that’s driving sales is flexitarians. In a recent interview at the Bloomberg Intelligence 2022 Thematic Investing Conference, Eat Just CEO Josh Tetrick noted that more than 70% of people that eat the company’s plant-based egg products also consume animal protein. [9]

This trend applies throughout the plant-based industry. For example, research shows that 70% of Beyond Meat customers are flexitarian, and that nine out of 10 US consumers who purchase plant-based milk also purchase dairy. [10]

A recent pan-European survey led by ProVeg found that almost 40% of EU consumers now identify as either flexitarian, vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan, while in Germany, over 50% of consumers identify as flexitarian. [11] A similar trend is evident in the US, where almost half of Americans regularly purchase both dairy and plant-based milk during their weekly shop. [12]

This data demonstrates the importance of the flexitarian consumer group, which shouldn’t be overlooked when developing and marketing plant-based egg products.

Is it time for plant-based egg products to take the spotlight?

Source: JUST Egg, Eat Just Inc.

It’s obvious that the demand for eggs is high. But are plant-based alternatives likely to satisfy consumers’ need for eggs?

“The future of the plant-based egg sector looks bright, with continued growth and innovation in plant-based ingredient technology and increased consumer demand for sustainable and ethical food options. As more consumers become aware of the environmental and health benefits of plant-based diets, we expect to see even greater demand for plant-based egg products and other plant-based alternatives to traditional animal products.”  

Eran Groner

Founder and CEO, Yo! Egg

With the animal-based side of the industry wrung with issues, we don’t think it’s too prudent to suggest that plant-based eggs could provide a way to stabilise the marketplace. Read the next article in the series to learn more.


1 Learn, JUST egg, available at: Accessed 2023-03-07.
2, 3, 5 US retail market data for the plant-based industry, (2021), Good Food Institute. Available at: Accessed 2023-03-07.
4 The rise of plant-based eggs, (2021). The Food Entrepreneurs. Available at Accessed 2023-03-07.
6 Sunny Side Definitely Up for Plant-Based Egg Market, (2022). The Food Institute. Available at: Accessed 2023-03-02.
7, 8 Cracking egg prices, (2023). Food Ingredients First. Available at: Accessed 2021-02-28.
9 Sunny Side Definitely Up for Plant-Based Egg Market, (2022). The Food Institute. Available at: Accessed 2023-03-02.
10 The Good Food Institute: Plant-Based: The Business Case. Available at: Accessed 2021-10-19.
11 ProVeg International (2020): European consumer survey on plant-based foods. Available at:  Accessed 2021-10-08
12 Watson, E (2019): 48% of consumers buy plant-based and dairy milks, reveals IPSOS survey. Food Navigator. Available at: Accessed 2021-10-01.

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