Beyond Meat Launches Plant-Based Chicken Tenders

Beyond Meat Launches Plant-Based Chicken Tenders

El Segundo-based Beyond Meat Inc. has launched its version of plant-based chicken tenders, and the product is expected to be available this month at some 400 restaurants locations nationwide.

Pasadena-based Absolute Brands’
pickup-only concepts Bad Mutha Clucka and Jailbird, as well as its Dog Haus locations, are among the brands that will carry the tenders.

Beyond Meat announced the product July 8, and Chief Executive Ethan Brown participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session last week to promote the launch.
“It’s an interesting project as it’s a different muscle structure than beef, so the development process internally was different,” Brown wrote. “I also like this product’s health profile with 40% less sat(urated) fat than the leading foodservice chicken tender even as we deliver 14 grams of protein, and the fact that we are using faba bean protein as the main source of amino acids.”

Redditors took the opportunity to quiz Brown on other topics, including competition with Redwood City-based Impossible Foods Inc.

“I think it is important to note that I appreciate what Impossible is doing to drive attention to the category and know that there are a lot of really good folks working there,” Brown answered. “We are both seeking to address a common set of global challenges. … (I)t comes to the market being a battle place of ideas. Our position is that you do not need to genetically modify (GMO) inputs to build a piece of meat from plants that is indistinguishable from its animal protein equivalent. This makes (Beyond Meat’s) job harder as we need to discover and source ingredients in nature that will enable us to keep improving our products.”

Others wanted to know more about having rapper Snoop Dogg and other celebrities as investors.

“I’ve always felt — like most — that Snoop and Dre were such a big part of kicking off the mainstreaming of hip-hop, and I came to him first and foremost as a longtime fan,” Brown answered. “Today, his ability to pitch and sustain a big tent, something that is important in building a moment of size, is really impressive. He’s been so helpful to our brand, and I really enjoy working with him.”

Some participants were focused on more personal topics, asking Brown for a job, what books he’s reading and if he eats Beyond Meat products.

“I eat a lot of Beyond Meat,” he wrote. “I live in Los Angeles and while I definitely have all the access I need to our latest products here at our labs and kitchen (I’m impatient to get those out to consumers 🙂 ), I also love to visit our restaurant partners throughout Los Angeles. … At Carl’s, my son gets two 2 burgers at a time (BBQ) and my favorite at Del Taco is the Beyond Avocado Taco (soft shell, never get tired of it!).”
They also wanted to verify if it was really him answering their questions — and not a publicist.

“It’s definitely me for better or worse, hence the long wordy answers,” he wrote. “Wasn’t it Mark Twain who apologized for writing such a long letter by saying if he had time, it would have been shorter.”

The session generated some 1,400 comments and questions, but Brown managed to answer only about a dozen of them, which drew ire from a few people.
“I’m pretty convinced it was just a marketing thing,” wrote one participant. “Only answered very specific questions like ‘what’s your favorite product’ and ‘why should I choose Beyond over Impossible.’”

“Yeah, that was embarrassing,” added another user. “As a vegan, I hate Beyond even more now. It was just an excuse to push his plant-based capitalism and praise animal abusers like McDonald’s and Carl Jr’s for giving him money.”

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