David Ervin (DE), VP of alternative protein, would not share any numbers, but told FoodNavigator-USA that the Raised & Rooted brand - which was developed and manufactured in-house – has experienced “impressive growth in its first year.”
Speaking as Tyson announced plans to take the brand into Europe, Ervin said a reformulated version of the ‘made with plants’ nuggets – which originally contained egg white – is hitting stores this month, minus the egg, removing an allergen and satisying demand for vegan products.
“One recent and notable change we are making is to the formula for the Raised & Rooted Nugget to eliminate egg whites,” explained Ervin.
“We expect our new product to begin shipping to retailers in December. Moving forward, Raised & Rooted products will not contain any animal products.”
So what does this mean for ‘The Blend,’ a hybrid burger under the Raised & Rooted brand which combines Angus beef and pea protein, and launched at selected retail locations in summer, 2020?
While Tyson still believes the hybrid or blended approach of combining plant- and animal-based proteins has legs, The Blend is being discontinued, said Ervin, who said Tyson would continue to develop new exclusively plant-based products under the Raised & Rooted brand.
"While the Raised & Rooted Blend will be discontinued, Tyson Foods believes in offering consumers a wide variety of protein options, including blended products."
FNU: How are the Raised & Rooted products performing at US retail locations?
DE: Raised & Rooted has seen impressive growth in its first year, with products now available through Amazon Fresh, Walmart, Kroger, Target, Albertsons/Safeway, Costco and other strong regional partners. We have seen velocities steadily increase each quarter on our all-plant line up with our most recent launches hitting strong initial velocities from the start.
FNU: How are the Raised & Rooted products performing in foodservice?
DE: Raised & Rooted is expanding its offerings at quick-service restaurants. In October, we launched the first ever ‘unchicken’ sandwiches in partnership with Jack in the Box in select locations (Salinas and Monterey, Calif. and Reno, Nev.).
FNU: What’s next for the brand?
DE: In the coming year, we look forward to expanding into new product categories and increasing availability through new retail and foodservice partnerships. Raised & Rooted initially launched with Nuggets Made with Plants in 2019. We now have three varieties of alternative chicken products: Nuggets Made with Plants, Spicy Nuggets Made with Plants, and Whole Grain Tenders. Consumers can expect to see additional new plant-based offerings from Raised & Rooted and other established Tyson brands coming to store shelves and quick-service locations in 2021.
FNU: Do you have any data on who is buying your products or what else is in their baskets?
DE: The vast majority of consumers are seeking flexibility in their diets and cooking with more than 70% buying and consuming both meat and plant-based protein options.
FNU: How does the price compare to the competitive set?
DE: We strive to ensure that we’re providing people with the best quality foods at an affordable price. Raised & Rooted is competitively priced at $4.99 per bag.
FNU: What were you going for with the formulation in terms of the nutritional profile vs the competitive set?
DE: We are laser focused on the nutrition of our own products. Our Raised & Rooted Nuggets have 33% less saturated fat than traditional white meat nuggets (USDA data), and each serving provides 9g protein and 5g fiber.
One recent and notable change we are making is to the formula for the Raised & Rooted Nugget to eliminate egg whites. We expect our new product to begin shipping to retailers in December. Moving forward, Raised & Rooted products will not contain any animal products.
FNU: What’s the addressable market for alternative proteins?
DE: Globally, we expect the alternative protein category to grow 12% annually over the next five years. Tyson Foods has a diverse, multi-protein portfolio that spans animal protein, alternative protein, and other exciting emerging protein formats through the ventures arm such as lab-grown [Tyson has invested in Future Meat Technologies and Memphis Meats].
As protein consumption continues to grow globally, we intend to grow with our consumers and be the leader across all proteins.