A 21-year-old student has been awarded $14,000 to bring a vegan egg product to market.
St Francis Xavier student Hannah Chisholm, from Nova Scotia, won first place in the 100 Seeds Atlantic pitch competition, taking $10,000 after pitching her vegan egg replacement company, Eggcitables.
She was awarded an additional $4,000 during the BMO Apex Business Plan Competition at the University of New Brunswick.
Chisholm, who plans to launch the product after she graduates in May, told PBN that her egg replacer is made from simple ingredients in order accommodate those with special dietary preferences or restrictions.
These include chickpea flour and Himalayan black salt, which 'gives the product its egg-like taste and aroma'.
She added: "Not only is Eggcitables free from eggs and other animal by-products, but we are developing the product so it is free from all of the eight most common allergens, including gluten."
Chisholm chose to market her product as vegan, because she recognizes the demand for vegan products - and that this demand has ‘driven innovation’ of plant foods.
"As someone who is allergic to milk, I really got to witness the growth of the dairy alternative market," she said.
"When I was younger I was limited to drinking baby formula with my cereal but now I have the opportunity to enjoy cheese, ice-cream, yogurt and so much more thanks to increased demand for vegan products."
A step ahead
Chisholm plans to keep Eggcitables a step ahead of the competition by making a versatile product, for cooking and baking that is also highly nutiritious.
"Eggcitables has significantly more protein compared to its competitors but still retains a long shelf life as a dry mix."
While Chisholm’s business idea was originally sparked by her own food allergies, she is dedicated to transitioning to a vegan lifestyle – which she says will be 'easy' and 'more affordable' for her.
She also addressed the stigma and controversy around animal product replacements, saying: "Documentaries, research publications, press releases, and just general word of mouth can all be utilized to help educate people on the real value of transitioning to more plant-based products."
She added: "Not only can people benefit from the health aspects of incorporating more plant based foods in their diet, but there has been a lot of research conducted on the environmental and social sustainability behind the movement.
"The more we talk about, the lower the stigma will be."