After conquering the meatless burger landscape, Impossible Foods is now entering the so-called vegan-chicken wars. In September, the Silicon Valley company released its Impossible Chicken Nuggets, available in Los Angeles at the upscale vegan restaurant Crossroads, along with various Fatburgers, and Vons, Albertsons, and Pavilions markets.
“They’re even more convincing than the burger,” Crossroads chef Tal Ronnen says of the new nuggets. “They’re insane.”
Impossible’s director of new-product development Laura Kliman says the nuggets, which are made with soy and sunflower oil, only took a year to develop, compared with five for the burger, which many consider to be best in class.
“Once we understood how to break meat down to molecular building blocks, it was actually easier and faster for us to apply the same approach to other proteins,” she says.
The nuggets are the latest in a string of faux poultry advancements. Recent developments include rival Beyond Meat launching tenders this past July, and Field Roast partnering with Costco to carry its products earlier this year. The plant-based meat market is estimated to be worth $13.8 billion by 2027, according to the market research database Million Insights.
Impossible, which many believe has the superior plant-based burger, is said to be eyeing an IPO in 2022 with a valuation of $10 billion.
But, Kliman notes, “many consumers still have plant-based skepticism.” The breaded nuggets, however, are surprisingly tasty and have performed quite well in blind taste tests. If ever there was a gateway drug to vegan proteins, Impossible’s latest may be it. Pass the agave-sweetened barbecue sauce.
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