US food company Eat Just is cutting 18% of its workforce at its Just Egg plant-based egg division.
The move could affect about 40 employees, mostly in the US, and is necessary for profitability, the company said.
CEO and co-founder Josh Tetrick said Bloomberg: “We should be in the place where [Just Egg is] able to operate profitably without the need for outside capital.”
He said that while capital from investors is necessary for long-term growth and innovation, product sales should cover day-to-day operating costs.
Tetrick founded the company in 2011 and its flagship product, Just Egg, is a plant-based alternative made from mung beans. The product launched in the US in 2019 and has since sold the equivalent of 360 million eggs, Tetrick said. Bloomberg. The division’s sales volumes and household penetration are at their highest levels to date, he added.
Tetrick said he has 20 cost-saving initiatives underway within the egg division, in addition to the job cuts. These include changing ingredients, consolidating operations, and increasing production efficiencies.
Good Meat survives job cuts
Eat Just has also developed “the world’s first meat made from animal cells on the market” under the Good Meat cultured meat division. This division will not see any layoffs, the company said.
In January, the company said it would ramp up production of cell-based meat in Singapore after receiving approval from the local regulator for its “serum-free media.”
The removal of serum, the fluid component of blood used in bioreactors to grow animal cells in the muscle, fat, and connective tissues necessary for meat production, as a growth medium or trigger for meat-based processing. in cells, it is considered an important factor in driving cost reduction and potentially expanding the commercialization of laboratory-created proteins.
Eat Just, formerly known as Hampton Creek, claimed the approval was the first of its kind and paves the way for the production of larger quantities of chicken from cells rather than euthanized animals.
Last year, it received funding from Alibaba-backed C2 Capital Partners and said it hoped to expand in China. C2 Capital Partners contributed $25 million to support the company’s efforts.
Eat Just’s job cuts follow reports in January that rival US plant-based meat group Impossible Foods planned to lay off a fifth of its staff. The California-based company reportedly offered “voluntary separation pay and benefits to employees in late 2022.”
And last year, Beyond Meat added to concerns about slowing growth in plant-based meat sales in the US, slashing its outlook by as much as $95 million and cutting 200 jobs.
Check out Just Food’s guide: Leading the Charge: The Companies at the Forefront of Cell-Based Protein Product Development