Beyond Meat has announced a significant increase in the number of outlets stocking its chicken tenders in U.S. grocery chains, pharmacies, and club stores. Selected Albertsons, Sprouts, CVS, and Whole Foods Market locations nationwide will stock the vegan chicken. All Kroger locations will roll out the product this month, totaling more than 8,000 new locations offering the product.
Beyond banks on chicken
Beyond’s chicken tenders are made using faba bean protein. This results in what the company calls a realistic taste and texture akin to conventional chicken while containing half the saturated fat. It has enjoyed success with the product since its initial launch and is looking to capitalise on it through widespread availability. In July last year, the tenders were launched in 400 restaurants in North America, before being offered to retail outlets.
“Building on the positive momentum of our recent chicken launches, we’re excited to significantly expand the availability of our Beyond Chicken Tenders by showing up in more places for our consumers – from their favorite supermarket or drugstore, to large warehouse clubs – making delicious, nutritious and sustainable plant-based meat more accessible than ever before,” Deanna Jurgens, chief growth officer for Beyond Meat said in a statement.
The tenders were launched into retail outlets in late 2021. They were unveiled ahead of multiple chicken-based partnerships with restaurants, including Panda Express and A&W Canada.
The falling fortunes of Beyond
Wider distribution of its chicken tenders comes as Beyond has been forced to admit to both falling sales and lacklustre partnerships. The latter refers to the lukewarm response to McDonald’s McPlant burger during widespread trials in the U.S.
A drastic drop in share prices was addressed during an earnings call in February, with CEO Ethan Brown blaming a fall in demand on Covid-related difficulties. He went on to proclaim full confidence in the company’s ability to recover, naming vast investment into foreign markets and wider distribution as solutions to flagging sales numbers
Topping up the coffers?
Beyond is taking a business as usual approach, looking to increase its reach, despite legal woes continuing in the background. Earlier this week it was revealed that the company has settled an investor lawsuit and implemented numerous governance changes. The lawsuit is not a class-action case, meaning that Beyond will not be liable to reimburse all investors in the company.
The settlement comes at a timely juncture, ahead of Beyond’s biggest court drama to date. Next month, it will square off against former co-manufacturer Don Lee Farms, who has sued on the grounds of multiple transgressions by Beyond. These include theft of trade secrets and supply of unsafe ingredients.
The right time for vegan chicken
Plant-based chicken is proving more popular than ever. This month alone has seen France’s Umiami close a $30 million Series A round to support the opening of a new R&D centre. The company hopes to be producing 150,000 tonnes of alternative chicken meat annually, by 2025.
Alongside, Shanghai’s Haofoods is freshly invigorated by a $3.5 million seed round that saw ProVeg and others participate. The company is known for its peanut protein-based chicken products, which it hopes to bring to the international market with its new funding.
Lead photo by Beyond Meat.