Egg replacement in sponge cake
Eggs are more difficult to replace in certain applications, including sponge cake, because they are critical to functions like aeration and structure.

KANSAS CITY — Egg ingredient prices are prone to volatility, which was evident in the avian influenza outbreak that shook the market in 2015. Replacing or reducing such ingredients is rarely a simple task, however. If a company seeks an egg-free product because of allergen concerns, the alternative ingredient may have its own allergen issues. If a company seeks to reduce eggs in a product as a cost-effective measure, the application involved will affect how much egg may be replaced.

MarketsandMarkets in a report issued this May forecast the global egg replacers market to generate a 6.2% compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2022, rising to $1,283 million from $949.8 million.

“Egg replacer products are used in various food applications owing to their properties such as emulsification, better binding and foaming,” the report said. “The market is majorly driven by factors such as increase in vegan diet and avian flu outbreak in major geographical regions such as North America and Europe. The growing demand for egg replacers in Asia-Pacific countries is paving new opportunities for the egg replacers market.”

MarketsandMarkets, which has offices in Seattle and in Pune, India, projects North America to be the largest region for the egg replacer market over the forecast period.

“North America acquired the largest share of egg replacers markets in 2016 owing to the increase in demand for egg replacers in bakery and savory industries due to the outbreak of avian influenza in this region,” MarketsandMarkets said. “The U.S. is expected to lead the market for egg replacers in the North America region for the next five years as a result of (the) rise in (the) threat of flu-affected eggs and growth in awareness among consumers about healthy diet habits.”

Egg prices in the United States no longer are near the highs of 2015. Nest runs, delivered, were trading at 59@64c per dozen on Sept. 22, which compared with 235@245c in August 2015. Much innovation in egg replacers has come in the past two years.

Nest egg run prices, egg replacement

Brolite Products, Inc., Streamwood, Ill., addressed the allergen issue recently when it introduced Huevo NS, an egg-free, soy-free egg replacer.

“Soy was one of the items that was a staple in egg replacers for years, but Brolite’s Huevo NS has removed all allergens except for wheat,” said Ken Skrzypiec, vice-president of eastern sales. “While many bakeries contain wheat, removing any allergen, like eggs or soy, is always beneficial because it lessens the chance of any cross contamination and makes for a cleaner label.”

Huevo NS has been shown to replace eggs totally in bread, rolls, Danish and cookies, he said. It also has been shown to partially replace whole eggs in cake products.

Corbion, which has a U.S. office in Lenexa, Kas., offers Function Plus 250W that is specifically designed to replace up to 30% of egg whites in angel food cakes.

“Most egg replacers on the market contain ingredients like gluten or dairy, which can trigger food allergies,” said Kathy Sargent, market director — bakery. “Our Function Plus 250 egg replacer is free of dairy, making it ideal for developing sweet baked goods for consumers that may have an intolerance or an allergic reaction to dairy.”

Some egg replacer ingredients from Kerry, which has a U.S. office in Beloit, Wis., contain wheat, dairy and soy ingredients, said Felicia Meskan, senior R.&D. scientist. The company has a full portfolio of egg replacers.

“We have carefully screened and analyzed a wide range of ingredients to choose the cleanest and most functional ingredients for egg replacement,” she said. “Eggs have a variety of functionalities, including gelation, binding and aeration. So it was critical for us to find ingredients that do the same. Most importantly, each egg replacer can be tailored to specific applications to fulfill these various functionalities.”

Finding ways to replace egg ingredients is easier in applications such as cookies, pancakes and muffins, said Bill Gilbert, certified master baker and principal food technologist for Minneapolis-based Cargill.

“In other product applications, where eggs are critical to functions like aeration and structure, Cargill has developed functional systems that mimic the different aspects of eggs,” he said. “As a result, even in products where eggs make up a large portion of the formula, such as high ratio cakes, sponge cakes and angel food cakes, we have functional systems that can replace up to 50% of the eggs in the formula, often with little or no additional changes required.”

Cargill offers a modified starch that has been shown to replace up to 25% of liquid whole eggs in cakes and pound cakes, 50% in muffins, 50% to 100% in pancakes, and 50% of egg solids in cookies. Cargill also offers soy flour that has been shown to replace 25% of liquid whole eggs in muffins and 25% to 50% in both cookies and pancakes.

MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kas., offers an Arise line of wheat protein isolates that provide a cost-effective way of increasing protein in flour-based products while acting as a partial egg white replacer, according to the company. The film-forming properties of the Arise wheat protein isolates increase the moisture retention capabilities of batters and coatings to create a variety of entrees and appetizers.

Corbion offers products such as a Bro-Eg whole egg extender, a Cara-Eg egg extender and a Function Plus line.

“Corbion’s Function Plus egg replacers are designed to help sweet goods manufacturers who are suffering from the increasing prices of egg products,” Ms. Sargent said. “Our solutions not only deliver the tolerance needed to maintain product height with the resiliency to withstand injection, handling and distribution, but they are also built on functional protein, and in most cases, can match and/or exceed protein content of an egg.”