For the past five years the team at Clara Foods have been developing animal-free eggs. However, just like many startups and restaurants closing their doors, the coronavirus has forced the young company to work from the confines of their own homes. So what does this mean for the development of their new products? Well, for one they have put a pin in their research and potentially delayed partnerships with CPG´s.
Having left their empty labs in San Francisco, Clara Foods has had to abandon their efforts in producing chicken-free egg whites. How do they do it? Using fermentation.
“Time actually affords us the ability for our scientists and our team leaders to really breathe a little bit and really be critical and reflect on how we’ve been doing things in the past,” Arturo Elizondo, Clara Foods’ CEO, told Food Dive.
With this forced breather in motion, the company has decided rethink their plans for the future. They are now prioritizing main research initiatives and the launching of its upcoming products to market, whereas less attention will be spent on extending its research and creating new products. This includes the delay of commercialisation of its egg-white alternative and the attracting of new consumers.
Many companies are being forced to reevaluate their business models during the current outbreak, as normally happens in periods of uncertainty.
A positive side to the situation is with the meat industry being affected by animal diseases such as bird flu, disruptive companies like Clara Foods could become even more attractive to consumers and investors. The virus could be creating a whole new demand for alternative proteins.
“I think that that’s been a huge advantage for us in that most of the egg products that we’re developing are direct replacements for animal products and animal protein specifically,”
Clara Foods has already attracted a long line of interested players in the market, looking to get a piece of the action. In 2019 it scored a whopping $40 million funding deal with investors including b37 and Ingredion. Thankfully with a full portfolio of interested parties, Clara Foods hopefully won’t have to worry about running out of money under these circumstances.
What about the shift from research lab to remote working? Thankfully the impact has been small as the team can continue to work on their computers and phone. The biggest change will of course come to the food scientists researching ways to replicate other parts of the egg, similar to what they did with the egg whites alternative. So what now? Being away from the lab means the scientist teams are investing more efforts into planning and designing new experiments and research projects, as well as planning the next few months at the company and what that time will entail.
Read more of Clara Foods CEO interviews @FoodDive