Plant-based meat company Beyond Meat has announced that its new product, Beyond Chicken Tenders, is being made available in 400 restaurants across the US. It’s a sign of the continued growth and success of the brand, which has seen its share price increase by 12% in 2021 to reach a market value of $8.85 billion.
The arrival of the Tenders marks a return to plant-based chicken for the company. It previously produced Beyond Chicken Strips, which while being very similar in name, were actually a very different product – they were frozen chicken strips rather than being breaded tenders. Beyond also made a foray into breaded plant-based chicken, which it tested at KFC in 2020. The chicken strips were discontinued in 2019, and the breaded burgers at KFC didn’t really take off. Beyond is hoping that these new chicken tenders can replicate the runaway success it has since experienced with its Beyond Meat patties.
This new plant-based chicken product is made from a mixture of peas and fava beans, contains 14 grams of protein per serving, and reportedly has 40% less saturated fat than the most popular real chicken tenders. In contrast to the practices of large-scale chicken producers, the product doesn’t use any GMOs, hormones, or antibiotics, and contains no cholesterol. From a health perspective, it’s a winner versus standard chicken.
Dariush Ajami, Chief Innovation Officer of Beyond Meat, was effusive in a statement about the new tenders: “As with all our products, Beyond Chicken Tenders offer delicious taste and an exceptional culinary experience, along with strong nutritional benefits. Innovation is at the heart of Beyond Meat, and Beyond Chicken Tenders are the latest example of our mission to create groundbreaking, tasty options that are better for people and for our planet.”
To begin with, the Chicken Tenders will be available in 400 restaurants, none of which are huge nationwide chains. If the product is successful and consumers like it, we imagine it will make its way to retail stores. This would of course make sense for Beyond — 75% of the revenue it generated in the first quarter of 2021 came from retail channels.
Beyond Meat is far from the only company operating in the alternative protein space, although it is currently the most valuable. Its arch-rival Impossible Foods is continuing to make headway, and new companies like Atlast Food are attracting investment. The fact that so many companies are pushing plant-based alternatives to meat forward can only be a good thing for the environment, and the more options people can choose instead of meat, the better.
Image courtesy Beyond Meat
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