Plant-based meat company Impossible Foods launched a new product on Tuesday: meatless chicken nuggets.
The chicken substitute has first appeared on the menus of popular restaurants in New York City and Los Angeles. Fuku, a restaurant run by celebrity chef David Chang of Momofuku fame, made the menu addition along with Fatburger and Dog Haus.
Impossible Nuggets will be sold in US grocery stores by the end of the month including Walmart, Kroger, and Albertsons.
The private company, which has an expected public valuation of $10billion, said it plans to roll out the product to 10,000 US grocery stores by the end of the year.
Approval for Impossible nuggets, which are made with soy, is still pending in China and the European Union.
Meatless products have moved beyond specialist food stores and have gone mainstream in recent years.
Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, another plant-based meat company, partnered with fast-food restaurants in 2019 to introduce meatless products like plant-based patties and sausages.
Beyond Meat launched its own meatless chicken product to restaurants in July including Next Level Burger in Brooklyn, New York, and Bad Mutha Clucka in Long Beach, California.
The number of substitute chicken products on the market is growing. Kellogg’s has created a plant-based alternative to chicken tenders and the start-up Daring has also made plant-based chicken strips.
Food production makes up a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock for beef, lamb and dairy account for 14.5 per cent of that mainly due to their release of methane, a potent GHG.
While chicken has a lower carbon footprint than red meat it is still about ten times that of plant-based foods. Eating a pound of chicken is about the equivalent of driving eight miles in a gas-powered car.
Impossible Foods say its meatless chicken nuggets use 49 per cent less land, 43 per cent less water, and generate over a third less greenhouse gas emissions than regular chicken.
There are health benefits, too. Impossible Nuggets has 40 per cent less saturated fat and 25 per cent less sodium than a regular chicken nugget, the company claims.
Chicken has become an increasingly popular meat choice over the past century in the US. In 2018, Americans ate more than 65 pounds of chicken each in one year, according to the Department of Agriculture.