Tyson’s brand of snacks made from rescued food ingredients, ¡Yappah!, is shutting down less than a year after it was announced.
¡Yappah!’s first product was a line of crispy snack bites made from spent barley from Molson Coors beer brewing, vegetable purées from juicing, and its own upcycled chicken breast trim. The snacks were packaged in recyclable aluminum canisters and had 8 to 10 grams of protein per serving.
“We’re sorry, but ¡Yappah! Chicken Crisps are no longer available,” the Yappah website reads. “The team decided that the product did not offer the viability that would enable continued investment.”
Tyson first announced the brand in May of 2018. After both a Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign, which raised the relatively small amounts of $11,674 and $13,542, respectively, it launched the crisps during a short trial at a Chicago supermarket in July 2018 and then began selling them online. On Amazon a 6-pack of the crisps, which came in 1.25-ounce cans, sold for $21.94. That shakes out to $3.65 a can, which is pricier than the majority of snack options out there, even high-end ones.
According to reviews, the ¡Yappah! crisps weren’t exactly a slam dunk. The space in the aluminum cans meant that the crisps sometimes arrived at consumers’ doorsteps crushed into crumbs, and the can’s sharp edges made them tricky for on-the-go snacking. Some customers also balked at paying such a high price for ingredients that would typically be thrown away or used as animal feed. As one reviewer put it: They Sacrificed Function for the Message.
The crisps were the first product of the ¡Yappah! brand, which would feature products made from sustainable and upcycled ingredients. They were the first product from the Tyson Innovation Lab, a team within Tyson meant to bring consumer products to market in just six months.
In the end, ¡Yappah! crisps were too expensive, too difficult to eat, and maybe too niche to attract enough consumers to keep the product viable. Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to see a major food corporation like Tyson investing so heavily in creative ways to feature oft-forgotten ingredients, even if it didn’t work out in the end.
Despite a big company like Tyson’s setback, several smaller companies are still in the upcycling game. Regrained makes snack bars out of spent grain from beer brewing. Toast Ale upcycles stale bread into beer. Misfit Foods turns pulp from juicing into blended sausages, and Pulp Pantry repurposes the same pulp into fruity snacks.
This might not be the last upcycling endeavor we see from Tyson. “Food waste is still a focus from us,” said a statement we received from a company spokesperson. Hopefully the ¡Yappah! flop doesn’t discourage them, or other Big Food companies, from continuing the fight.