Impossible Foods Announces New Vegan Chicken Nuggets
Impossible Foods just announced that it will enter the vegan chicken market this fall, presenting the company’s new plant-based Impossible Chicken Nuggets following rival Beyond Meat’s vegan chicken debut. Impossible Foods just unveiled this plant-based chicken product, saying that it will begin distribution within the foodservice sector before moving to retail. The product will make its first appearance during the DOT Foods - the largest food distributor in the United States - trade show next week.
The plant-based chicken nugget is made from texturized soy and sunflower oil developed to mirror the taste and texture of conventional chicken. As an early pioneer for plant-based meat, Impossible Foods arrived late to the plant-based chicken market. Impossible President Dennis Woodside explained that the company had “been busy with other things” and that Impossible Foods had “been working on chicken for some time.”
Before the Impossible Chicken Nuggets, Impossible Foods was joined by rival Beyond Meat in replicating plant-based beef. Impossible Foods initially debuted its burger in New York City in 2016, showcasing soy leghemoglobin (heme) that gives plant-based protein meaty texture and flavor. The company claims that it attempted to use heme in the vegan chicken nuggets, but found the ingredient to be unnecessary in the recipe.
Impossible Foods has expanded rapidly since David Chang first featured the plant-based protein in his Momofuku Nishi in New York. Now, Impossible products can be found in nearly 20,000 U.S. supermarkets across five countries. The plant-based company has also partnered with both Burger King and Fatburger, bringing the plant-based protein to a significant consumer base across these national chains. The company hopes to tackle every animal sector, giving plant-based consumers the best possible product to replace animal-based foods.
“Our mission is to completely replace the use of animals as a food technology by 2034,” Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown said recently during a conference. “We’re dead serious about it and we believe it’s doable. I was confident that we would succeed when I launched this company, and now I’m completely confident. It’s game over for the incumbent [meat] industry - they just don’t realize it yet.”
The food tech company achieved Child Nutrition [CN] accreditation from the United States Department of Agriculture [USDA} this May. The label allows Impossible Food to distribute its products across K-12 schools nationwide, altering the way younger Americans will eat growing up. The certification will allow Impossible Foods to distribute its plant-based meats to educational institutions across the US, and provide plant-based alternatives starting at an early age.
Earlier this month, Beyond Meat beat Impossible Foods to the punch when the company released its Beyond Chicken Tender across nearly 400 restaurants. The nationwide launch will spread across pubs, chicken wing shops, vegan chains, pizzerias, and bars, beginning the most widespread distribution of plant-based chicken yet.
Following this announcement, Beyond revealed that it would be partnering with Panda Express to bring consumers the Beyond The Original Orange Chicken. The companies claim that the new vegan orange chicken will feature the same taste and texture as the original without any animal products. This nationwide launch shows the rapid expansion of this industry. Now that both plant-based food giants have released plant-based chicken products, consumers will begin to be able to find the vegan chicken alternatives across thousands of retailers and foodservice establishments.
Impossible Foods’ entrance into the plant-based sector follows rumors that the company is preparing for a $10 billion IPO. The plant-based giant has yet to confirm these preparations, but sources inside of the company claim that it’s on the horizon. Other plant-based companies such as Beyond and Oatly have seen tremendous success after going public with Beyond surging 163 percent on its first day, solidifying it as the highest performing first-day stock of the year.
As the plant-based sector continues to grow, investors and consumers are keeping their eyes locked on plant-based companies’ market debuts. Consumers’ attention will continue to increase as companies like Impossible Foods highlight the importance of sustainability, claiming it to be the future of the market globally.
“By far, the biggest factor in climate change and the collapse of global biodiversity is the use of animals as a food technology. Nothing comes close. We have to get rid of it,” Brown said. “It’s much more important than replacing fossil fuels in terms of benefits for the world.”