The company – which first launched frozen plant-based chicken strips for the retail market in 2012, but withdrew them in 2019 - did not provide an ingredients list or nutritional breakdown of the products, but said they included peas and faba beans, with 14g protein per serving and “40% less saturated fat than the leading foodservice chicken tender.”
The tenders “scored at parity in overall flavor to animal-based chicken tenders” in testing with 200 consumers in May, said the firm, which recently announced global partnerships with McDonald’s and Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) but did not name any high-profile restaurant chain partners in today’s release or say whether a retail launch is also on the cards.
(Click here for a full list of restaurants selling the tenders, which are slightly different to the Beyond fried chicken products trialed at selected KFC outlets in early 2020.)
Beyond Meat posted a 11.4% increase in net revenues to $108.2m in the first quarter and a net loss of $27.3m, with solid growth in retail dented by declines in foodservice, although execs said they were starting to see a ‘slow thaw’ in this market: "COVID-related dynamics aside, Beyond Meat continues to hold the number one brand position in terms of dollar sales for our category in US foodservice according to NPD data."
The new Beyond Chicken Tenders are launching at a time when regular chicken is in short supply due to pandemic-related disruptions and surging demand, said Beyond Meat, which picked up a Food and Beverage (FABI) Award for its tenders from the National Restaurant Association earlier this year.