Interviews

Crafty Counter / WunderEggs: “The Likeness to Real Chicken Eggs is Remarkably Close”

Crafty Counter Crafty Counter is a Texas-based plant-based food company known for its vegan egg alternative product, WunderEggs. These vegan hard-boiled eggs are made from a mix of nuts and legumes, designed to mimic the taste, texture, and nutritional profile of traditional eggs.

WunderEggs are the first ready-to-eat hard-boiled eggs to be produced in the US and have garnered endorsements from notable industry figures such as Tabitha Brown.

CEO Hema Reddy founded the company in 2017 following a lengthy career at IBM. In this interview, Reddy shares the journey of Crafty Counter and the inspiration for creating WunderEggs. She discusses the challenges in mimicking the texture and taste of real eggs and the successful strategy that landed WunderEggs in Whole Foods nationwide as well as in notable foodservice establishments like Next Level Burger.

What inspired you to create Crafty Counter and specifically develop a plant-based alternative like WunderEggs?
When I switched to a plant-based lifestyle in 2020, I really missed eating eggs. I quickly realized there was a clear lack of choices in egg substitutes. As an entrepreneur and product innovator, I saw an opportunity to fill this gap. While liquid egg substitutes were already available, there was a need for more diverse options.

Vegan WunderEggs
©Crafty Counter

This led me to focus on creating a hard-boiled egg alternative, which became our first product to launch. Crafty Counter was born out of a passion to innovate and provide delicious, plant-based alternatives for everyone.

What sets WunderEggs apart from other vegan egg alternatives currently available in the market?
WunderEggs stand out because they are grounded in the principle of whole foods plant-based eating. We believe that the fewer the steps between the harvest and your plate, the better it is for you. That’s why WunderEggs are made from simple, natural ingredients, such as nuts, to recreate the taste and texture of hard-boiled eggs.

“The fewer the steps between the harvest and your plate, the better it is for you”

Unlike many other alternatives that rely on highly processed components, WunderEggs offer a clean, wholesome option that prioritizes health and simplicity without compromising on flavor and texture.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during the development of WunderEggs and mimicking the texture and taste of real hard-boiled eggs?
When working with a simple ingredient list, the process becomes absolutely crucial. One of the biggest challenges was finding the right manufacturing capabilities, which took two and a half years of persistent effort. Another major challenge was maintaining the nutritional integrity of the product without making any compromises.

WunderEggs/ Vegan Hard Boiled Eggs
©Crafty Counter

It was essential to ensure that WunderEggs not only replicated the texture and taste of real hard-boiled eggs but also provided a nutritious and wholesome alternative. Overcoming these obstacles required a great deal of dedication and creativity.

WunderEggs are available in both retail and food service. Which channel has been most effective, and can you describe the differences in your approach to these two segments?
The retail channel, especially within natural grocery stores, has been the most effective as our initial go-to-market strategy. Launching through this channel allowed us to directly reach health-conscious consumers and plant-based enthusiasts. However, we are now expanding into the food service sector with broadliners such as Sysco.

“Crafty Counter was born out of a passion to innovate”

This expansion has been facilitated by our recent launch in all locations of Next Level Burger and Veggie Grill, which has opened up expansion into Sysco warehouses. The approach for retail focuses on direct consumer engagement and education, while the food service strategy emphasizes building relationships with restaurant chains and distributors to integrate WunderEggs into their menus and supply chains.

Vegan Hard Boiled Eggs
©Crafty Counter

Can you discuss the strategy behind securing major retailers like Whole Foods?
The key to securing partnerships with major retailers lies in offering a truly unique and disruptive product within an emerging category that is ripe for innovation. WunderEggs fits this description perfectly, as they address the growing consumer demand for plant-based foods.

Today’s consumers are more aware than ever of the health and environmental benefits of plant-based eating, and retailers recognize the importance of meeting this demand. By presenting WunderEggs as a pioneering solution that aligns with these market trends, we were able to capture the interest of these major chains and establish successful partnerships.

What has been the consumer feedback on WunderEggs, and what has been the response from non-vegans?
When we launched Hard Boiled WunderEggs nationwide in January 2023, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and the product went viral within a month. Consumers, especially those who are mindful and sustainability-focused, resonated strongly with the taste, innovation, and overall value proposition of WunderEggs.

Crafty Counter deviled Wundereggs
© Crafty Counter

The likeness to real chicken eggs is remarkably close, which pleasantly surprised many shoppers and led to significant word-of-mouth organic growth. Notably, even non-vegans have been impressed, appreciating the realistic texture and flavor that make WunderEggs an appealing alternative to traditional eggs.

Can you share more about what other new products we might expect from Crafty Counter in the near future?
We recently achieved a significant milestone by launching Deviled WunderEggs nationally at all Whole Foods Market locations. This success underscores that the market, consumers, and retailers are ready to embrace innovative plant-based foods.

“…the product went viral within a month”

Looking ahead, we are excited to expand our product lineup with other varieties of egg substitutes, including patties. Our goal is to continue providing delicious and sustainable alternatives that meet the growing demand for plant-based options. Stay tuned for more!

Are there plans to expand the availability of WunderEggs internationally? If so, what markets are you targeting?
Absolutely! We’ve received an overwhelming number of requests from Canada, Europe, Mexico, and the UAE, among other regions. This international interest is incredibly encouraging. As a small team, we are carefully planning our growth to ensure we can meet demand without compromising on quality.

While we are eager to expand internationally, we are taking a mindful and strategic approach to ensure sustainable growth and successful market entry.

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