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Eat Just: The Forefront of the Food Supply Revolution


“The foods we choose make a difference.” - Michael Greger

The global population's growing demand for food became unachievable for traditional farming to meet their needs. Facing supply disruptions, plus the greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere coming from agriculture as a significant contributor, humanity came before the doorstep of the existential challenge of exploring new food sources.

Today, huge efforts are put into plant-based product development as possible solutions for future generations. Determined to contribute to the change, Josh Tetrick and Josh Balk became one of the players in this global game by opening Eat Just Inc.

The company is focused on building a healthier food system; Eat Just products are entirely based on plants. Its novel idea for a plant-based egg took the market by storm, and now they’re also culturing animal cells to create the first meat not made from slaughtered livestock.

What is the story behind their success? Keep reading to find out.

Life-Threatening Disease Changes the Meaning of Life

Josh Tetrick grew up with his mother and brother in Birmingham, Alabama. His childhood dream was to become a professional American football player, so he paid little attention to studying. However, very early, he realized he was not good at football, so he returned to school and graduated from Cornell University in New York in 2004.

After graduation, Tetrick spent some time in Africa working with kids in nonprofit organizations. Coming back, he enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School.

All seemed to go well, but something unexpected changed his life. Josh started to feel an abnormal heart rhythm and was soon diagnosed with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

This meant that he had to change his lifestyle by 180 degrees. So, instead of falling down, he picked himself up and started thinking of ideas that could help. After finishing law school and working on some law reforms in Liberia, Josh finally decided where his ambitions lay.

Josh Balk had a somewhat similar story. He went to Radnor High School, where he was part of the baseball team and made the school’s record for most wins and strikes. The next step was Keystone College, where he was awarded the best pitcher. However, he suffered a bad shoulder injury that ended his career.

So, he turned to George Washington University to get a degree in political science. Following his education, Balk worked at Animal Outlook and other food retailers, where he pointed out the benefit of using vegetarian meals.

Friendship Becomes Partnership

After returning to the U.S., Tetrick entered a new field - food, energy and education. The whole idea for Eat Just started with his best friend, Josh Balk. Balk couldn’t stop talking about the cruel reality of traditional farming and the things he had seen during his work. He opened Tetrick’s eyes to the fact that over a third of the world’s fields were used to grow soy and corn to feed the animals that were then slaughtered for people’s consumption. So, instead of trying to make other people make the change, they took the matter into their own hands.

Finding the Perfect Egg Substitute

Their first aim was at something all people consume - eggs. Their efforts were focused on finding a plant that could substitute this food and even included ways to use animal cells to produce meat. Naturally, starting wasn’t as easy - many turned their heads to the idea of creating a plant-based egg or meat that wasn’t produced the traditional way.

It took 6 months, but then Tetrick shared their idea with Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Experienced in company investment, Vinod decided to invest in this idea with half a million dollars.

Both founders aimed to develop a product that would taste good, make consumers feel good, and is affordable. So Eat Just started to work full steam ahead!

From Global Healthy Food Solution to Environmental Benefit

Eat Just was founded in 2011 in San Francisco by Josh Tetrick and Josh Bulk as the world’s first producer of substitutes for animal products in vegetable and cellular directions.

The idea to make delicious eggs from plants went through thousands of samples from hundreds of plant species. There were many failures and disappointments until the research team found the final product made from mung beans. It scrambles and fluffs like an egg and tastes maybe even better than chicken eggs.

Healthy Just Egg Ingredients

While the primary idea was to develop a substitute for chicken eggs that would be tasty enough for consumers, Just Egg offers additional benefits for people's health. Just Egg ingredients include a similar amount of proteins as traditional eggs, but there is 67% less saturated fat and zero cholesterol. Just Egg is rich in polyunsaturated fats.

On top of that, this innovation saves the sources needed for producing chicken eggs. This new technology uses 98% less water, 83% less land, and 93% fewer CO2 emissions.

Investments were not limited to developing plant-based eggs but were extended to artificial meat production. The initial idea came from using animal muscle or fat cells that developed, and at the end of 2020, for the first time in the world, a cultured chicken was approved for consumption by the Food Agency in Singapore.

Attractive Innovation for Investors

After more than 10 years on the market, Eat Just’s total funding is $440 million today. Since 2011, eleven investment rounds have been completed with 42 investors; the last two funders were AIV Capital and Qatar Investment Authority. It has 3 lead investors.

The Seed Round started in 2013 and raised $1 million. From then on, the numbers just kept on rising. Series A, B, and C came to $4 million, $23 million, and $90 million, respectively. Within Series C, there were 18 investors in total - the largest amount of funders throughout the whole financial cycle so far - and the leading ones were Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures. The Series D round made Eat Just $120 million.

In March 2021, Eat Just raised a $200 million venture round from Charlesbank Capital Partners, the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Investment Fund. The last fund was the same year (2021) and was a Venture Round.

Eat Just’s Valuation & IPO Plans

According to PrivCo, Eat Just is valued between $1 billion and $10 billion. Currently, the company is private, meaning there is still no IPO. However, there are rumors that the company will open to the market sooner - some predict the Eat Just IPO will happen by the end of 2022.

Endless Challenges for a Market Leader

The company has already surpassed sales of over 100 million eggs sold in the U.S. and Canada. They plan to expand into Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Eat Just products are available in well-known outlets like Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, and 20,000 other stores. Their products are also found in restaurants and fast food chains such as Chinese Dicos.

Throughout these years, Eat Just was recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies,” “100 Brilliant Companies”, and as a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum. Just Egg was named among the “100 Greatest Innovations”.

A big challenge for the company is the capacity of the bioreactor. The currently available bioreactors don’t have sufficient capabilities for future mass production. This is one of the fields that Eat Just plans on working on in the future, as the founders are currently looking for a site that could hold such machines.

However, Tetrick and Balk’s main goal is to make plant-based meals a widespread, first-choice dish for everyone. They’re building partnerships and working on giving tasty yet healthy options.