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Plant-based chicken is the alternative meat trend that will define 2020

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There has never been a better time for plant-based chicken to enter the market. Plant-based chicken sandwiches may become as ubiquitous on fast-food menus as the beef burger.

IRENE JIANG: ‘2019 was the year that plant-based beef alternatives took the world by storm… But the fervor for meatless “meats” isn’t stopping with beef. 2020 is the year of the plant-based “chicken.” Plant-based “chicken” is nothing new. One of Beyond Meat’s first products was a frozen “chicken” product that crashed and burned. Grocery-focused companies like Quorn and Gardein have had vegetarian “chicken” products in frozen aisles for a while now…

Plant-based “chicken’s” first debut on the main stage was KFC and Beyond’s wildly successful first test of Beyond fried “chicken” in August 2019. Then, in January 2020, the companies announced an extended test of the product in two markets in February.

The fried nugget entered the scene accompanied by a slew of other plant-based “chicken” products. On March 5, El Pollo Loco rolled out its Chickenless Pollo nationwide. UK startup Daring Foods, which launched in the US earlier this year, just received a $10 million investment from Rastelli Foods Group, a meat-processing company…

So why is plant-based “chicken” finally happening now? There could be several factors at play. First, chicken alternatives with meat-like muscle texture may have been harder to develop then ground beef alternatives. Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown told Business Insider in an earlier interview that developing a product that pulls apart like chicken meat required additional research.

Another possible factor is the chicken sandwich’s meteoric rise in the last year… Chicken has been a growing sector in fast food in recent years… With chicken sandwiches set to become even more ubiquitous, there has never been a better time for plant-based versions to enter the market…

If KFC’s Beyond fried “chicken” tests go well, the chain plans to roll out the product nationwide. If that nationwide rollout goes well, then other fast-food chains are likely to follow suit. Eventually, we may even see plant-based “chicken” sandwiches become as ubiquitous on fast-food menus as their “beef” burger counterparts’. SOURCE…

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