Building on the momentum from its recent plant-based chicken launches, Beyond Meat is increasing the availability of its Beyond Chicken Tenders to more than 8,000 new outlets nationwide, including grocery, pharmacy and club stores.
First introduced in retail in 2021 at chains including Walmart, Jewel-Osco, Safeway NorCal, Harris Teeter, Giant Food and ShopRite, Beyond Chicken Tenders will now also be available at select Albertsons, CVS, Sprouts and Whole Foods Market stores and will expand into all Kroger banners throughout April.
After a record year of growth in 2020, U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 6.2% in 2021, bringing the total plant-based market value to an all-time high of $7.4 billion, according to recent data from the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), The Good Food Institute (GFI) and SPINS.
The category is benefiting from product innovation and expanded merchandising space and assortment, the groups said. “Product innovation is critical for plant-based categories to continue to earn a larger share of the market. Getting more consumers to eat plant-based foods more often requires improved taste and texture to compete with animal products, more product diversity, and greater affordability and accessibility,” GFI research and analysis manager Karen Formanski said.
And while new meat alternatives continue to hit the market, the plant-based meat alternative category is seeing some of the same sales pressures observed in conventional meat, Chicago-based market researcher IRI notes. Inflation was a key driver of the 8.8% year-over-year sales growth that frozen meat, poultry and seafood alternatives recorded in February, according to IRI; unit sales, meanwhile, were down 3.6% vs. the year-ago period—although they were up 6% on a two-year stack.
In a news release, Beyond Meat noted that the protein in Beyond Chicken Tenders is derived from faba beans, with the product containing 50% less saturated fat than the leading brand of traditional breaded chicken nuggets. The tenders come precooked and ready to heat in the air fryer, oven or microwave.
As of December 2021, Beyond Meat has products available at 130,000 retail and foodservice outlets in more than 90 countries worldwide. It recently rolled out a series of imitation-poultry products via limited-time offers at restaurant chains across North America, including Beyond The Original Orange Chicken at Panda Express across 10 markets, Beyond Meat Nuggets at all A&W Canada stores in 2021 and Beyond Fried Chicken at KFC locations throughout the U.S. in 2022.