Hampton Creek, San Francisco, is expanding into product lines beyond condiments. Mung bean protein can be used in various formulations, from egg substitutes to pasta and ice cream, says the company. In early August, Hampton Creek received a "no questions" letter from the FDA, responding to its determination that its proprietary mung bean protein isolate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
The no questions letter is likely to be published on the FDA's website in mid-September, says Hampton Creek, which has been using the plant-based protein in its Just Scramble scrambled egg substitute. The product contains 20 percent more protein than a chicken egg and has zero cholesterol, the company says.
"Jack is incredibly versatile and can be used to make a range of other products, like 'ice cream' and 'butter;' some we may produce, others we'll license to other food manufacturers so they can make their products better for consumers and better for the planet," said Andrew Noyes, senior director of communications at Hampton Creek.
Potential partners are sampling the product in different formats, as have visitors to the company's headquarters and breakfast trial participants at the University of San Francisco, the company says. Other possible applications for Jack include "cheese," yogurt products, pasta, noodles and biscuits.
The mung bean protein isolate is produced using a series of mechanical processes whereby first the raw beans are de-hulled and then milled to produce flour. Mung beans have historically been grown and eaten in Thailand, India, China and other parts of Southeast Asia, and are relatively new to the U.S. diet. Only cultivated in the U.S. since the 1800s, mung beans are high in potassium, folate and magnesium, and are easy to digest because of their fiber content, according to nutritionists.