Food-tech startups aim to crack eggs and chicken

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Can plants replace eggs? A San Francisco startup backed by Bill Gates believes they can.

Hampton Creek Foods is scouring the planet for plants that can replace chicken eggs in everything from cookies to omelets to French toast. Its first product is an egg-free mayonnaise now sold at Whole Foods Markets.

The upstart is part of a new generation of so-called "food-tech" companies that aim to change the way we eat. They face powerful food industries and a skeptical public.

Funded by prominent Silicon Valley investors, Hampton Creek seeks to disrupt a global egg industry that backers say pollutes the environment, causes disease outbreaks and confines chickens to tiny spaces.

The egg industry says the public prefers real eggs, and their practices have improved in recent decades.