Photo: Raised & Rooted's plant-based chicken nuggets.

Today poultry giant Tyson Foods announced Raised & Rooted, its new brand selling alternative proteins.

Raised & Rooted’s first products will be plant-based “chicken” nuggets (made with a pea protein blend) and blended burger patties (which combine beef and pea protein). The products have lower calories and saturated fat than traditional chicken nuggets and beef burgers, respectively.

In addition to the new Raised & Rooted brand, Tyson is also introducing new alt-protein products through its existing Aidells brand, which sells meaty sausages, burgers, and meatballs. Aidells Whole Blends’ new sausages and meatballs contain a blend of chicken and protein-heavy plants such as quinoa, black beans, and lentils.

Raised & Rooted’s plant-based nuggets will launch in retailers in late summer. The blended burgers will follow this fall. Outside the grocery channel, Tyson will also sell its new alternative protein products through foodservice partners. Aidells’ Whole Blends are already available.

“For us, this is about ‘and’ – not ‘or,'” said Tyson Foods CEO Noel White in a press release emailed to the Spoon. “We remain firmly committed to our growing traditional meat business and expect to be a market leader in alternative protein, which is experiencing double-digit growth and could someday be a billion-dollar business for our company.”

Tyson’s venture capital arm, Tyson Ventures, has invested in mushroom protein company MycoTechnology and cell-based meat startups Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies. They had purchased a 6.5 percent ownership in Beyond Meat but quietly dissolved their ties in April — likely since Tyson (understandably) didn’t want to compete directly with one of its portfolio companies once it started developing its own line of plant-based protein.

When the second largest meat processor in the world creates its own line(s) of plant-based and blended chicken and burgers, there’s no longer any doubt that alternative proteins are a profitable opportunity. This news also comes a day after Perdue, another large poultry producer, launched its line of Chicken Plus products: chicken nuggets, tenders, and patties blended with vegetables and proteins sourced from Better Meat Co.

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  1. Hi. Just a correction the nuggets are not vegan since it contains eggs, it’s vegetarian. And the burger is neither vegan nor vegetarian since it still contains beef. I’m not sure where Tyson is going with this.

    • Thank you for pointing that out we have corrected the language! My guess is that Tyson isn’t targeting vegans at all but flexitarians who are aiming to eat less meat while still getting the taste and dining experience of real meat. We’ll see if their gamble pays off.

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