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Tyson unveils alternative protein products

Company is largest U.S. meat producer to enter growing alternative protein segment.

As part of efforts to expand its protein offerings, Tyson Foods Inc. this week introduced its first plant-based and blended products, along with its new Raised & Rooted brand. The initiative makes Tyson the largest U.S. meat producer to enter the growing alternative protein segment with its own products.

The company said its new Raised & Rooted brand was created to provide great-tasting plant-based and blended foods that are rooted in how people eat today. The initial products under the new brand, which will launch with several major retail customers this year, include plant-based nuggets as well as blended burgers made with a combination of beef and plants. In addition, the company’s existing Aidells brand has launched Aidells Whole Blends sausage and meatballs, made with chicken and plant-based ingredients.

Tyson expects to introduce additional alternative protein products through multiple customers and sales channels. These include products under the Raised & Rooted brand and across the company’s portfolio of iconic brands, as well as to foodservice operators.

Major retail and foodservice customers have expressed interest in what Tyson can bring to the alternative protein segment, which is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar category and continues to grow. The company’s depth and breadth of experience in protein product development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing makes it uniquely positioned to introduce new plant-based and blended proteins and drive growth, the announcement said.

“Today’s consumers are seeking more protein options, so we’re creating new products for the growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein,” Tyson president and chief executive officer Noel White said. “For us, this is about ‘and’ – not ‘or.’ 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.”

Earlier this year, White selected Justin Whitmore to lead all aspects of Tyson's alternative proteins business, channeling the company's capabilities to provide consumers with exciting new protein options.

“The creation of the Raised & Rooted brand is an excellent example of Tyson’s ability to think big and move fast, capitalizing on our existing infrastructure,” Whitmore said. “We began development of our alternative protein products last year and have succeeded in creating a new brand and bringing those products to market in well under a year. Customers tell us they love the taste and nutritional attributes and are excited to partner with us.”

Tyson chief marketing officer Noelle O’Mara added, “While most Americans still choose meat as their primary source of protein, interest in plant and blended proteins is growing significantly. These products appeal to a broad-cross section of consumers who enjoy food from a variety of protein sources, and we expect interest to continue to grow across protein types. The Raised & Rooted launch and our pipeline of innovation will reflect our consumers' expectations for 100% plant-based, blended and traditional protein offerings.”

Raised & Rooted nuggets will launch through national retailers in late summer, with blended burgers following this fall. The products have been developed by Tyson's innovation, culinary and consumer insights teams in Chicago, Ill., and northwest Arkansas.

The Raised & Rooted nuggets are made from a blend of pea protein isolate and other plant ingredients; they contain 5 g of fiber and omega-3s and less saturated fat than traditional nuggets. The blended burger is made with Angus beef and pea protein isolate and has fewer calories and less saturated fat than the plant-based burgers sold by several competing companies, according to Tyson.

Aidells Whole Blends products include a portfolio of fully cooked sausage links and meatballs made with a blend of high-quality, no-antibiotics-ever chicken and plant-based ingredients such as chickpeas, black beans, quinoa, lentils and barley.

Through its Tyson Ventures venture capital fund, the company also continues its investment in start-up companies involved in alternative proteins. Current investments include mushroom-based protein producer MycoTechnology as well as cell-based meat producers Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies.

TAGS: Business
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