Kellogg will start producing Incogmeto Chick’n Tenders3 May 2021
The Kellogg Company’s Incogmeato by MorningStar Farms brand will debut Chik'n Tenders. These nuggets will be available in two flavors: Original and Sweet BBQ flavors. Beginning late in April, these plant-based tenders began retailing nationwide at Walmart, Kroger, Meijer, H-E-B, Wegmans, Southeastern Grocers stores where they are priced at $5.27 for a 13.5-ounce pack at Walmart.
"Our new Incogmeato Chik'n Tenders are a game changing experience for the flexitarian chicken-loving consumer who wants to try plant-based but isn't finding an option that stacks up to the real thing," said the company’s general manager of plant-based proteins, Sara Young in a statement. According to Kellogg, the manner in which the meat of these plant-based nuggets pulls apart is “indistinguishable from its animal protein counterpart” thanks to the use of proprietary technology that creates fibers to mimic the texture of real chicken.
Compared to real chicken, Incogmeato Chik'n Tenders contain more grams of protein per serving and 27% less fat. The sodium content is also higher than the animal protein counterpoint. For a serving of four nuggets, there are 310 milligrams of sodium whereas 100 grams of chicken contains 82 grams, per U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. This comparison is consistent with what some dietitians are pointing out. In a CNBC article from 2019, dieticians disagreed with the commonly held view that plant-based meat is a healthier form of protein as sodium and saturated fat quantities in plant-based burgers are approximately equal to those made of beef.
Nevertheless, in a recent study by the International Food Information Council, 45% of respondents said plant-based meat was healthier than animal protein. In the same study, texture remained one of the largest detractors from the overall quality rating of the plant-based meats available on the market. In the study, 31% responded that the texture of meat alternatives was not similar to meat.
Texture has been an ongoing struggle for plant-based meat companies looking to mimic animal protein sources. In 2019, Impossible Foods reformulated its burgers to include soy protein concentrate instead of textured wheat protein to improve the burger's texture. Similarly, the ingredients company ADM has dedicated a significant amount of research and resources to developing ingredient solutions that can provide the necessary texture and moisture properties for a variety of applications.
The Incogmeato brand has only been around since early 2020, but already, texture is a dominant consideration for the company in its R&D. With chicken being the most widely-available animal protein in the U.S., per USDA data, it makes sense that the brand would focus its energies on a popular category. "Chik'n is a huge opportunity to recruit flexitarian eaters to the meatless category; we know plant-based chik'n household penetration is just north of 5%, leaving a huge upside worth over $200+M,” Young confirmed.
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