Josh Tetrick is the mastermind behind Silicon Valley–based food tech start-up JUST. This groundbreaking company is creating a range of plant-based products that have blown away consumers, including egg-free mayonnaise, egg-free cookie dough and, yes, eggless scrambled eggs. With flavours that equal their non-vegan counterparts, Tetrick has invented a way to enjoy traditionally animal-based products without actually involving any animals. JUST’s founder tells us how he began his mission to change the food industry and why Asia is so important to the future of food.


Photo credit: JUST

Watch: Josh at Foodie’s Foods Future Summit

What inspired you to start JUST?

The inspiration for JUST came from my best friend who thought that I could do something more with my life than pursuing a traditional career in investment banking or law – and hopefully do a lot of good along the way. I explored a number of fields, and then I learned about how broken our global food system is and decided that was a place where I could make an impact. I think eating well should be a basic right, yet 1.1 billion people will go to bed hungry tonight. Nearly 2.1 billion live their days deficient in the micronutrients that promote cognitive development and prevent disease, and 6.5 billion, including most of the people reading this, eat food that weakens their bodies and degrades the planet. Many people don’t want to eat this way, but due to food-access issues, they don’t have any other choice. The food system is unjust, and it wasn’t something I’d thought about until my friend opened my eyes to it.


Photo credit: JUST

With the phenomenal success of JUST Mayo, what was it about the product that you think people really responded to?

The popularity of JUST Mayo was driven by a confluence of events that really took us by surprise. A local TV station in San Francisco did a story on us, and then somehow the story ended up on a popular national news-aggregation website, and the next thing we knew, a buyer from a national grocery store called me to ask if we could send him some samples. We did that, and the next thing we knew, JUST Mayo was on the shelves of 40 stores in northern California. From there, people discovered it, enjoyed it, told their friends and more stores started bringing it on. As we’ve introduced new products, the community of people who have supported us from the beginning are an incredible asset to the company. They share openly with us when they like what we’re doing or when they think we can do something better.


Photo credit: JUST

Why have you chosen Asia as your next market outside the US?

More than four billion people live in Asia, and it simply can’t be ignored by those of us who want to radically transform the global food system for the better. We never set out to be an American food company; we set out to be a company that helps more people eat well. We have a massive opportunity to do that in Asia and around the world.

What has the feedback been on JUST Egg?

The reaction to JUST Egg in the US and in Asia has been incredible. Some of our earliest restaurant partners have seen firsthand how adding JUST Egg can expand the category and attract new demographics of diners. One reported that having JUST Egg available led to a 42 per cent increase in egg-related sales and a 13 per cent increase in total breakfast sales. Another reported that after adding JUST Egg to the menu, 30 per cent of egg-related sales were made with the product. Some food-service partners are phasing out conventional chicken eggs and are instead going to use JUST Egg as their preferred protein for a variety of dishes, from scrambles to wraps and breakfast sandwiches. One of the most gratifying developments was having the Denver Broncos become the first professional sports team in the world to put JUST Egg on their players’ training tables. That proves this is not a vegan thing, but a great-tasting, better-for-you thing that everyone can enjoy.

With the influx of plant-based products mimicking animal-based products, do you think there is anything we won’t be able to accurately replicate?

Between the plant and animal kingdoms and current and emerging technologies, it’s likely that we’ll find better and different approaches to making food products. We’ve only just begun to see what’s possible when some of the greatest chefs, scientists and technologists work together to do things that would never have been imagined a decade ago.

JUST Cookie Dough

Photo credit: JUST

How much waste by-product is produced via creating, for example, a jar of JUST Mayo compared to making a jar of mayo using real eggs?

At the end of 2017, we announced sustainability metrics for all our products, including JUST Egg, the ingredients of which save more fresh water than conventional egg products and emit fewer greenhouse gases. By choosing JUST over other leading brands, consumers helped to save at least 295 million gallons of fresh water in 2017 – enough to fill at least 14,774 swimming pools. They also helped to avoid emitting over 2.9 million kilograms of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – the equivalent of more than 226,770 cars kept off the roads for a day. By choosing JUST over other leading brands, they also eliminated the need for at least 4,545,490 eggs.

JUST Omelette

Photo credit: JUST

Along with vegan and allergy considerations that make egg-free products essential, would you say your products are also safer food choices, less likely to harbour pathogens?

Yes, plants generally have less of a probability of avian flu, salmonella or other food-safety issues that you find in the current food system, primarily because they’re made from plant tissue, not animal tissue.

JUST Mayo arrived in Hong Kong over three years ago. It was first sold in popular supermarkets, then it seemed to disappear, only to be found in more specialised, health-oriented stores. Has the retail strategy changed?

We decided to put our energy into JUST Egg. You’ll be seeing that in addition to other JUST products on shelves in Hong Kong and other cities in Asia soon.

What product are you working on next?

In addition to scaling up JUST Egg availability in retail and food service in the US and Asia, we’re working hard to meet our goal of making the first commercial sale of a “clean meat” product by the end of 2018. Also known as cell-cultured meat, this method of food production involves the creation of real meat from cells instead of live, confined animals. Our team has been working hard for about two years on some of the biggest challenges involved in this groundbreaking new way of helping to satisfy the increasing global consumer demand for animal protein. We believe this innovation holds great promise and can lead to a safer, more sustainable supply of meat to feed the world.

Hear Josh Tetrick reveal more about his journey to change the food industry at our upcoming Food’s Future Summit. Tickets available here.

Our goal is to inspire and initiate change within the world of food.

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