First Thai Sustainable Vegan Egg Substitute

Plant Origin, serial entrepreneur Pasakorn Niratbhand's latest endeavor aims to revolutionize the global food industry with innovative, healthy, sustainable, and plant-based solutions. The company's product is the first Thai plant-based egg replacement.

Pasakorn Niratbhand, CEO of Plant Origin Food
Image: Plant Origin

Pasakorn, who likes to be called Pas, left Thailand to study for his Master of Fine Arts in computer graphic interactive & multimedia at the Prat Institute in New York, United States. After graduating, he decided to stay for another year for practical training. But it was 27 years before he returned to his native land in 2019.

In the US, Pas joined and co-founded several companies, from book and magazine publication and graphic design to event production. For example, he co-founded "Shecky’s Girls Night Out" after New York was experiencing shock and dismay after 9-11. The idea took off, he said, and he ran the event production for 15 years while it grew in fame and expanded to 18 major cities in the country.

Raising Awareness on Plant-Based Diets at Vegan Events

Moving to the US, Pas adapted to the local diet of high carbohydrates, meat, eggs, and dairy products, negatively impacting his health. In 2012, Pas started The Seed, an event company organizing plant-based events, serving as a place for education and advocacy for veganism and plant-based products. However, the company shut down in 2015 for lack of profit and interest. The events where he gathered plant-based diet experts, vegan athletes, doctors, and people running farm animal sanctuaries contributed nonetheless to his awareness as he transitioned to a plant-based diet. "I could feel a significant improvement, and recovering from sports efforts became much faster," he said.

Plant Origin  - Producer of Plant-Based Protein Alternatives

Back in Thailand, Pas launched a plant-based food delivery company. However, "logistics was a nightmare as delivering fresh food in Bangkok before 9 am is pretty much impossible." He wanted to remain in the plant-based business and decided to research a plant-based product. He hunted for the perfect candidate in research papers and collaborated with Chiang Mai University to work on plant-based protein alternatives.

Plant Origin’s co-founders: Pasakorn Niratbhand, Akkasit Jongjareonrak, and Patarachet Soodsaguan
Image: Plant Origin

In April 2022, he founded Plant Origin with three co-founders:  Prof. Akkasit Jongjareonrak, food scientist and researcher at Chiang Mai University, and Plant Origin's Chief Technology Officer, Panu Srisawasdi, and Patarachet Soodsaguan, both with a production engineering background. The company is located in Chiang Mai.

exx Egg Replacement Powder from Organic Rice Bran

Plant Origin's goal, Pas explained, is "to change the food system for a better future and transform the food industry by providing healthy, high-quality, affordable and eco-friendly plant-based proteins.” "We are committed to promoting well-being, health, and sustainability while minimizing wasted and natural resources depletion."

A bag of exx plant-based egg replacement powder in front of a box of plant-based egg replacement omelet mix
Image: Plant Origin

The company extracts the protein from organic rice bran, a by-product of rice milling, using an innovative hydrolyzed protein technology. The rice shell, which is discarded, has a high protein content and nutritional value. The rice bran that Plant Origin uses comes after the bran has been squeezed into rice bran oil, offering a second use of the by-product.

Exx is an egg replacement powder that can be used to make omelets and for cooking. The taste does not precisely match chicken eggs, Pas said, as the familiar egg taste comes from sulfur, and the only natural ingredient that would replace that taste is black salt, a sulfuric salt from volcanic mountains. Thus, it must be used sparingly to not increase the final product's salt content.

The company concentrates on the texture, as Pas explained that most Thai dishes are spicy and would cover the taste of eggs. For example, exx powder has a binding quality that works well with cakes, but its rising quality is more problematic, he said.

Locally-sourced Egg Replacement as part of a Heart-Healthy Diet

A plate of exx plant-based omelet with a plate of white rice
Image: Plant Origin

According to Pas, there was no locally produced egg replacement in Thailand. The company was keen to use local by-products to help reach emission reduction targets and address the carbon footprint of food and agriculture, particularly meat and dairy production.

Many people are concerned about the cholesterol and saturated fat contained in egg yolk, and the exx egg replacement offers a healthier alternative as exx protein is made of a smaller chain of amino acids (peptides), allowing faster absorption and faster muscular recovery. Clinical studies have shown that exx's peptides have antioxidant nutraceutical properties and help against hypertension.

Currently, exx's egg equivalent is twice as expensive as one chicken egg, but the company is working to match the price of chicken eggs, and even lower, Pas said.

Food Science at the heart of Plant-Based Diet Food by Plant Origin

A dish with green vegetables on a plate with pieces of green omelet
Image: Plant Origin

The company's business model is based on a B2B model, and its primary customers are innovation departments in food manufacturing.

Individual customers who are often flexitarians, health conscious, have egg allergies, and are vegetarian or vegan can order from the Plant Origin website.

The lack of biorefinery infrastructure available in Thailand is one of the challenges faced by Plant Origin. The company plans to build one but is held back due to a lack of investment.

Defining the IP Strategy for the hydrolyzed protein extraction innovation

A large industrial stainless steel tank in which they make exx plant-based egg replacement
Image: Plant Origin

Plant Origin was a beneficiary of WIPO's IP Management Clinic for SMEs Program, a four-month program to support innovative companies in formulating their IP strategies based on their business plan and intangible assets.

The clinic, Pas said, enhanced his IP knowledge and helped him develop a strategic approach to intellectual property, "allowing the company to effectively leverage and protect its unique ideas and products."

Plant Origin applied for a joint patent with Chiang Mai University on the scalability of hydrolyzed protein extraction. The technology is kept as a trade secret. The company, he said, is continuing research on the product in collaboration with Chiang Mai University to improve its properties, such as emulsification and aeration, without adding additional ingredients, and looking into further IP protection on new versions of the product.

The company is commercializing the protein and two versions of exx: one for savory dishes and one for baking, and working in collaboration with food manufacturers to customize the protein to their specific needs.

Expanding the Plant Origin’s Market and Sustained R&D

Pas and his co-founders have plans for the future. Their first objective is to increase market penetration in Thailand and internationally by leveraging strategic partnerships and expanding distribution channels. The company is considering applying for an international patent through the WIPO PCT.

Their second objective is to hire more scientists and invest in R&D to enhance their existing products and introduce new and innovative plant-based solutions.

Most and for "we want to keep our sustainability initiative, further reducing our environmental footprint." The company has joined numerous incubators in Thailand, Germany, and Singapore, and also wants to form alliances with like-minded organizations, research institutes, and potential investors.

Last update:

April 19, 2024


Company name:
Planet Origin

Share this content:

Related stories