This Easter will see people tucking into trendy poached egg brunches and whipping up batches of creme egg brownies, but a University of East Anglia (UEA) graduate has developed a novel use for the humble egg by incorporating it into high protein drinks, which could reduce food waste.
PECK drinks was founded by former UEA Psychological Science student Matt Havers, after recognising that hundreds of eggs produced by the 16,000 chickens on his family’s North Suffolk farm were being disposed of as they were deemed the wrong size, colour or texture, making them unsuitable for sale.
Matt created his first fruit smoothie in June 2017, using British Lion Code free range eggs which would have otherwise gone to waste, and officially launched his range in January 2018.
“Cutting down on food waste is one of the biggest challenges we face as a farming industry – anything we can do to make our processes more effective and sustainable is really important.
“Chickens use about 60% of their daily calorie count to make an egg, so it’s even more important we make use of their produce from their perspective!”
In the future, Matt hopes to approach retailers directly to source the healthy eggs which are wasted by supermarkets when one or two eggs in a box are cracked. The UK wastes 4% of its eggs before they even leave the shops, which equates to 1.4 million eggs daily.
Matt has encountered numerous challenges in his war against food waste, he said: “At the moment we can’t use eggs from my family farm as it requires some costly infrastructure to process them, but all the eggs in our drinks would have otherwise been disposed of at other farms.
“Transforming people’s perceptions about consuming egg whites in this way has also been a hurdle as some people still associate raw eggs with the Rocky films!”
Protein drinks have steadily grown in popularity in the last few years as consumers become more interested in high protein products for muscle building and weight management.
NHS Choices recommends eggs as part of a healthy balanced diet as they contain protein, vitamins and minerals.
The range of drinks are all lactose-free and contain five free-range egg whites per bottle, which equates to around 20g of protein. They are all low in sugar and fat, with no artificial colours, flavors or preservatives.
“The yolk of an egg is where 90% of the goodness of an egg lies, however it also contains 100% of the fat. Similar to avocados and nuts, it is classed as ‘good fat’, but we wanted to keep the fat content low so it would appeal to people on specialised diets too.” said Matt.
Matt graduated from UEA in 2009 wants to encourage students and graduates to pursue their business ideas and entrepreneurial passion, he said: “Always try something new, it’s tougher to start, but if you truly have something unique then the pay-off is huge.
“Even if my business falls down around me, I can hold my head up because I know the journey that I’ve been through.”
PECK has received two grants from Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative run by Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.
There are plans for PECK drinks to be launched in the East of England Co-op and Musclefoods in the next few months, and they can be purchased on the PECK website and on Amazon.