Faux-chicken firm to market nuggets
Impossible Foods Inc. plans to debut a plant-based chicken nugget this fall, the latest imitation meat maker to jump into an already crowded market.
The offering will be unveiled to potential customers at a trade show this week, the company said, and uses textured soy protein and sunflower oil to replicate the bite and fatty mouthfeel of nuggets. Notably, it doesn’t include heme, the ingredient that gave its burgers and sausages that fake meatiness, but also kept them from being sold in Europe and China because it’s genetically modified.
Impossible, along with rival Beyond Meat Inc., revolutionized the “veggie burger” category with their beef-like burgers that came closer to the real thing than other options. They inspired a whole new category of copycats, but despite that first-mover advantage have been late to offer chicken. Beyond began selling its “chicken tender” last week.
“We’ve been busy with other things,” said Impossible President Dennis Woodside, explaining that the company has been focused on expanding its retail offerings. “We’ve been working on chicken for some time.”
The new Impossible and Beyond offerings face stiff competition from alt-chicken products made by established manufacturers, such as Maple Leaf Foods Inc.’s Lightlife and Conagra Brands Inc.’s Gardein, as well as newer entrants Daring Foods Inc. and Livekindly Collective. But there could still be plenty of room with Americans spending $110 billion on chicken last year, by far the most of any meat.
In a similar distribution strategy to its faux burger, the nugget will land at restaurants first but is slated to go to retailers shortly thereafter. Restaurants are already taking advantage of the available options.