Impossible Foods launches meatless chicken nuggets

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Impossible Foods is launching meatless chicken nuggets as it seeks to capture a share of the market amid a nationwide poultry shortage.

The company, which is backed by celebrity-investors like tennis star Serena Williams and rapper Jay-Z, announced its expansion into chicken on Tuesday, adding that it plans to rollout the product in supermarkets by the end of the month.

The nuggets’ main source of protein is soy and sunflower oil brings juiciness to the nuggets, the Redwood City, California-based company said.

There are 12 grams of protein per serving and no cholesterol or animal antibiotics, Impossible said, adding that they have 40 percent less saturated fat and 25 percent less sodium than animal chicken nuggets.

Unlike Impossible’s meat-free burgers and sausage, the nuggets don’t contain heme, an additive that’s produced from genetically modified yeast.

Serena Williams.
Impossible Foods is backed by celebrity-investors like tennis star Serena Williams and rapper Jay-Z.
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has OK’ed the company to use heme in its products, but regulators in China and the European Union have blocked Impossible Foods’ products because of the ingredient.

Advertising for the nuggets also touts their environmental benefits.

The nuggets use 48 percent less land and 43 percent less water than animal chicken nuggets. Impossible nuggets also generate 36 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, the company says.

Nuggets.
Unlike Impossible’s meat-free burgers and sausage, the nuggets don’t contain heme, an additive that’s produced from genetically modified yeast.
Impossible Foods

“Eating Impossible Chicken Nuggets instead of chicken nuggets from animals reduces your environmental footprint: less land and water, and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” the company said in a statement.

Impossible said it plans to have the meat-less chicken in more than 10,000 grocery stores, including at Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons locations, within three months.

The suggested retail price is $7.99 for about 20 nuggets. In contrast, a bag of about 50 frozen chicken nuggets from Tyson costs $5.30 at Walmart.

Chicken at a supermarket.
The US has been dealing with a nationwide chicken shortage that’s been caused by surging demand, production issues during the pandemic, and underperforming roosters.
Alamy Stock Photo

The new product will help Impossible compete with rival Beyond Meat, which launched chicken tenders in US restaurants this July, over two years after discontinuing its first meat-less chicken line.

The launch also comes as American restaurants grapple with a nationwide chicken shortage that’s been caused by surging demand, production issues due to the pandemic and underperforming roosters.

The supply shortage has spurred some restaurants and fast food chains to pull chicken from their menus while others have hiked prices.

Packages of "Impossible Burger" and Beyond Meat sit on a shelf.
The nuggets will help Impossible compete with rival Beyond Meat, which launched chicken tenders in US restaurants this July.
Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Popeyes even said earlier this year that it was stockpiling chicken ahead of the rollout of its new chicken nuggets.

The supply challenges could present an opportunity for Impossible Foods to get in on the massive US chicken market.

Reuters reported earlier this year that privately-held Impossible Foods is preparing to go public sometime in the next 12 months, either through an initial public offering or a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.

Popeye's restaurant.
Popeyes said earlier this year that it was stockpiling chicken ahead of the rollout of its new chicken nuggets.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The company is reportedly seeking a valuation of at least $10 billion, about $3 billion higher than Beyond Meat’s valuation, based on the stock’s closing price on Tuesday.

Impossible has raised $1.5 billion from private investors so far.



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