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Beyond Meat has just launched vegan chicken tenders, which will be featured at more than 400 North American restaurants. Made from faba beans and pea protein, the tenders look, taste, and cook just like traditional breaded chicken tenders, but they’re completely plant-based and non-GMO.
El Segundo, California-based food tech Beyond Meat has rolled out its Beyond Chicken Tenders at over 400 locations in the United States and Canada. The vegan-friendly breaded chicken tenders contain 14g of protein per serving, contain 40% less saturated fat than similar chicken analogues. They are also free from GMOs, antibiotics or hormones, and cholesterol.
Dariush Ajami, Chief Innovation Officer at Beyond Meat said of the new Tender product: “We’re innovating the poultry market with the new Beyond Chicken Tenders—the result of our tireless pursuit for excellence and growth at Beyond Meat.”
Beyond Chicken Tenders
The announcement marks the first time Beyond Meat has rolled out a chicken alternative since it quietly discontinued its frozen chicken strips in 2019. The company’s first chicken product arrived back in 2010—long before it launched the now-ubiquitous Beyond Burgers and became the world’s first publicly traded plant-based startup.
Beyond’s latest chicken product is described as “crafted to look, cook and taste like traditional breaded chicken tenders.” According to the firm, previous consumer trials scored their vegan chicken tenders “at parity” in terms of taste compared to real chicken.
They are designed for food service channels, with restaurants and caterers able to use the ready-made product to create a range of dishes.
“Beyond Chicken Tenders [are] the perfect on-menu choice for appetizers, entrees or as an ingredient in salads, sandwiches and tacos,” said the company, back when it first announced the product in May at the National Restaurant Association Show.
The tenders have already garnered the 2021 Food and Beverage (FABI) award at the National Restaurant Association Show and the event’s website states that “In consumer testing, Beyond Chicken Tenders scored on par in likeability with the leading animal-based chicken tender, making them a must-have menu item that will elevate your menu to compete in the Chicken Wars.”
Expanding the Beyond Meat range
Beyond Meat, which was founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown, recently expanded its plant-based range with two new vegan burgers. It has reformulated a third iteration of its famous Beyond Burger, which contains 35% less fat and calories compared to 80/20 ground beef.
A second burger is slated to launch soon which will boast an even more impressive nutritional profile. When the company revealed the news in November last year, it said this product would reduce saturated fat by 55%.
Currently, Beyond Meat sells its products across 28,000 retail locations in the U.S., including the biggest retailers Walmart, Kroger, and Costco. It is also sold at around 39,000 food service outlets throughout the country. Globally, the brand’s footprint spans more than 80 markets. Since its 2019 IPO, the company’s stock price has climbed to over $140 from its $25 debut.
But can we call it chicken?
The naming wars over what to call plant-based meat alternatives are gaining steam, with meat lobby cries for keeping certain terms for foods from animal origin only. Brown doesn’t see it that way. He believes that when it comes meat, what matters is the composition, not the origin. In an interview published yesterday, Brown told the Wall Street Journal: “If we’re able to deliver the amino acids, lipids, trace minerals, vitamins and water in the same architecture as an animal’s muscle, I think we have the right to call it that, albeit plant-based.”
Lead image courtesy of Beyond Meat.