Technology

43. Eat Just

Persephone Kavallines

Founders: Josh Tetrick (CEO), Josh Balk
Launched: 2011
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding:
$650 million
Valuation: $1.2 billion
Industry:
Food
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 3 (No. 21 in 2020)

Eat Just is trying to change the food that we eat. The San Francisco-based company is creating plant-based alternatives that are healthier and more sustainable than products that come from animals.  

Eat Just's flagship product is its egg substitute, which is made from mung beans. Not only does JUST Egg contain no cholesterol and less saturated fat than poultry eggs, the product also requires less land, water and carbon emissions to produce, according to the company. As of March, the company has sold the equivalent of more than 100 million chicken eggs across more than 20,000 retail locations. 

But the company isn't only trying to modify what we eat for breakfast. Last year, Eat Just made history by becoming the first company to secure regulatory approval for cell-cultured meat. Singapore gave the company the go-ahead to start selling chicken created in a lab. Cultured meat is made by putting stem cells from the fat or muscle of an animal into a culture medium that feeds the cells, allowing them to grow.

Eat Just's GOOD Meat cultured chicken was first introduced at a single Singapore restaurant location, 1880. Last week, the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach's Cantonese restaurant Madame Fan became the first restaurant in the world to replace conventional meat with cultured meat, offering the cultured chicken as a replacement in salad, dumplings and stir fry menu options.

U.S. approval of cultured meat still seems far away, giving Eat Just the chance to reduce the cost of production before introducing more consumers to the product. The company is also working on creating other kinds of cell-cultured meat and plans to introduce a beef patty prototype this year. Earlier this month, GOOD Meat was set up as a subsidiary of Eat JUST and secured $170 million in new funding.

In March, Eat Just raised $200 million in a fundraising round led by the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the Middle Eastern country. It has raised nearly $800 million to date after rising to prominence with backing from the likes of Bill Gates and Marc Benioff when the company was still known as Hampton Creek

Early in its history, controversies about product safety and an alleged scheme to inflate sales plagued the company and co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick. In 2017, the entire board resigned, but Tetrick kept the top job and helped steer the company back on course.  

Contributed by Amelia Lucas

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