Egg replacement involves eliminating eggs partially or totally from a food formula and replacing them with ingredients that can offer similar performance.1 Egg replacement in bakery and food products has been driven by many factors:
Economics: fluctuations in global egg supply and pricing
Health concerns: cholesterol content, avian influenza recurring outbreaks, etc.
Potential contamination such as the 2017 Fipronil insecticide scandal
Health opportunities and nutritional alternatives for vegan, vegetarian or other diets
Shelf-life and handling: egg products have a limited shelf-life and can lead to HACCP issues
Allergenicity: eggs are considered a top allergen in the U.S.
These concerns have created a whole new food ingredients category dedicated to finding functional and cost-effective egg replacers.
Designing ingredients as egg replacers in bakery applications requires a good understanding of egg functionalities in baked systems, which include: 1,2
Foaming: important for formation of air cells in batters.
Stabilization: essential for firmness and elasticity
Moistening: important for the sensory perception in cakes, cookies, and waffles
Color: natural yellow hue, and contribution to Maillard browning reaction.3
Egg replacement strategies
Many food and bakery systems can use egg replacement ingredients such as cakes, cookies, muffins, pie fillings, icings, etc. Commercially-available egg replacers are classified into three main categories: proteins, polysaccharides and emulsifiers: 2
Proteins (whey, soy, wheat, pea, chickpea)
Flavor issues (bitterness)
Polysaccharides /gums (xanthan, guar)
Development of very high viscosity at low shear rates.
Tendency to aggregate and fall out of solution/dispersion
Emulsifiers (lecithin, sucrose esters)
Emulsification and binding
Not enough functionality
New plant based alternatives or their combinations have been used to effectively replace eggs in certain baked goods including:3,5
Chia seed gel: provides similar emulsifying capacities to eggs when used at 25% level.
Natural colors: lycopene, annatto, turmeric and paprika extracts can be used to substitute the yellow hue provided by egg yolk.
Flaxseed gel: provides humectancy and binding capacity. Typically 1 egg is substituted by 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water.
Fruit pureés: banana puree and applesauce provide some biding and humectancy capacity.
Vegetable oils: used to replace egg wash to provide glow to baked goods.
Algal flours: provide emulsifying and humectancy capacity due to the presence of phospholipids and starch.
Consideration when using egg substitutes: 3
A combination of several substitutes yield better results than one single ingredient to perform all of the egg’s functions.
Full egg replacement should be implemented when producing baked goods for egg-allergic consumers.
Replacement level should be carefully designed when using substitutes with strong flavor that may change baked goods flavor profile.
Examples of egg substitutes ingredients combinations: 3
Fortified nutritional yeast
Commercially available egg replaces such as alpha-cyclodextrin (GRN 678), xanthan gum (GRN 121), whey protein isolate (GRN 37), soy hydrogenated lecithin (GRN 534) are considered GRAS by the FDA when their usage adheres to good manufacturing practices. 6,7,8,9
EU Commission No 1308/2013 protects the use of terms like “eggs” for animal- based products.The EU is currently debating the legal status and labeling of agricultural products substitutes.10
Lin, M., Yang, H., Tay, S.H. and Li, H. Replacement of eggs with soybean protein isolates and polysaccharides to prepare yellow cakes suitable for vegetarians. Food Chem. 2017, DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.02.132
Borneo R, Aguirre A and Leon, A.E. Chia (Salvia hispanica L) gel can be used as egg or oil replacer in cake formulations. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2010, 110, pp: 946-949.
European Commission (EC). Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 Of The European Parliament And Of The CounciL of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007 .Official Journal of European Communities, 17 Dec 2013.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.