Beyond Meat Branches Out Into ‘Chicken’ Tenders

The meat-free strips are now available in U.S. restaurants.

July 09, 2021

Beyond Meat Chicken Tenders

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—Beyond Meat now has a meat-free version of chicken tenders made from fava beans and peas, CNBC reports. Yesterday, the alternative meat stripes made their debut in nearly 400 U.S. restaurants.

The “chicken” tenders are the first Beyond Meat poultry substitute product in more than two years after the company shelved its original frozen chicken strips.

“The demand for our beef products really started to pick up to the point where we really had to allocate all of production capacity to it,” said CEO Ethan Brown. “So, we decided to discontinue [our earlier chicken-substitute product], which was also motivated by the fact that we wanted to make it better.”

Beyond Meat also tested a fried “chicken” alternative with KFC. However, the tenders launch was with smaller chains and independent restaurants, instead of with a national chain like KFC. The new chicken-free strips have 14 grams of protein per serving. “One of the things that I’m very interested in is continuing to increase the protein diversity that we have,” Brown said.

The company has struggled with its foodservice segment because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Beyond Meat is hoping new poultry-alternative products like these tenders will boost interest. Brown indicated the company will release more meat-free products in the poultry category but did not say whether its tenders would move to the grocery channel or stay in foodservice.

To learn more about this growing segment in foodservice, read “Plant-Based Food Takes Root” in NACS Magazine.