Tyson Foods is joining in on the plant-based meat bandwagon by releasing two alternative protein products in an attempt to compete with Beyond Meat and other companies.
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Tyson’s nuggets made from pea protein will be added to grocery stores this summer and, by fall, a burger made from a blend of beef and pea protein will also be available. The items won’t hold the iconic Tyson logo but will be sold under the new brand Raised and Rooted.
The Tyson brand will continue to develop plant-based and blended products for both groceries and restaurants. Justin Whitmore, who leads Tyson's alternative protein business, said the company plans to release more alternative meat products in the future under Raised and Rooted and other brands it owns.
Tyson, one of the largest meat producers in the world, is attempting to beat out companies like Beyond Meat, which sells plant-based meat products in grocery stores nationwide. Beyond Meat’s stock was down in premarket trading Thursday shortly after Tyson’s announcement.
|TSN||TYSON FOODS INC.||67.52||+1.44||+2.18%|
|BYND||BEYOND MEAT INC.||142.56||+4.03||+2.91%|
Tyson has been watching the alternative protein market for a while. Its investment arm, Tyson Ventures, acquired a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat in 2016. It sold that stake before Beyond Meat's IPO, but it continues to hold investments in other startups, including Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies — which grow meat from cells — and mushroom-based protein startup MycoTechnology.
"These things work together and help us have a broad view of what the world of food looks like," Whitmore said.
But the meat giant already has some stiff competition. Beyond Meat is expected to release 1-pound packages of plant-based ground beef “soon,” while Impossible Foods continues to draw in fast food customers with items such as Burger King’s Impossible Whopper.
Nestle is also planning to release it's Sweet Earth brand Awesome Burger in the U.S. this fall. Poultry company Perdue Farms said it will soon start selling nuggets, tenders and patties made from a blend of chicken and vegetables.
Tyson also steered clear of calling its new products “meat,” and instead referred to them as "alternative proteins." Some plant-based companies have been criticized for calling their products “meat.” Some states, including Arkansas and Missouri, ban plant-based foods from being called "meat."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.