Over the weekend, I wrote about Starbucks testing a 100 percent plant-based menu at a location in Seattle, a move company CEO Kevin Johnson said was a direct response to consumer demand. But it seems that’s not the only move the coffee giant has made recently when it comes to building a more plant-forward menu. From the looks of it, Starbucks could be pushing for a major partnership with plant-based egg-maker Eat Just, too.
As one does on the internet, I stumbled across a piece of Starbucks news from the end of January that at the time went largely unnoticed. The Dallas Observer reported that Starbucks has expanded the test market for a vegan breakfast sandwich the company quietly piloted in Washington state in October 2020.
This is apparently not the same breakfast sandwich as the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich Starbucks launched in 2020, which features Impossible’s sausage patty but also uses regular ol’ eggs and cheese. The new iteration is 100 percent vegan and, according to the Observer, is made up of an Impossible patty, an Eat Just folded egg, and a plant-based cheese from an unnamed company. The sandwich is now testing in the Dallas and Forth Worth metro area and available for a limited time.
Further investigation pulled up this Starbucks menu item called “plant-based breakfast sandwich” that looks identical. Though Impossible is the only company named for now, the menu item includes “a plant-based egg patty” that looks suspiciously like Eat Just’s folded egg product.
Eat Just was not available to comment for this story. But nothing about a major Starbucks-Eat Just alliance would surprise. The latter’s folded egg product is an obvious candidate for the QSR realm, given that it requires little prep (heat it up and serve) and has no real competitor right now when it comes to frozen egg products made from plants. It also closely resembles the omelette-like patty found on traditional breakfast sandwiches everywhere, including Starbucks, Dunkin’, McDonald’s, and the independently owned coffeeshop down the street.
Starbucks is also well known at this point for the sous-vide egg bites it sells at most U.S. locations. As it happens, Eat Just recently released its own line of sous-vide bites which for the moment are only in grocery stores but could be customized to fit on a plant-based Starbucks menu.
Starbucks’ Johnson said on a recent earnings call that breakfast drove the high performance of food during the company’s first quarter. Given that plus the fact that a 100 percent vegan breakfast sandwich has been seen and tasted in the real world, it seems only a matter of time before we hear wind of a much more widespread partnership between the two companies.