Tyson Foods has introduced the company’s first plant-based and blended products, along with its new Raised & Rooted brand, as it works to expand its protein offerings. The initiative makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. meat producer to enter the growing alternative protein segment with its own products.
The Raised & Rooted brand was created to provide plant-based and blended foods that are rooted in how people eat today, the company says. 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 Foods expects to introduce additional alternative protein products through multiple customers and sales channels. This includes products under the Raised & Rooted brand and across the company’s portfolio of brands, as well as to foodservice operators.
Tyson says major retail and foodservice customers have expressed interest in what it can bring to the alternative protein segment, which is estimated to be a multi-billion-dollar category and continues to grow. The Springdale, Arkansas-based company says its depth and breadth of experience in protein product development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing makes it well positioned to introduce new plant-based and blended proteins and drive growth.
“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,” said Noel White, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “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 Foods’ alternative proteins business, channeling Tyson Foods’ capabilities to provide consumers with 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.”
“While most Americans still choose meat as their primary source of protein, interest in plant and blended proteins is growing significantly,” said Noelle O’Mara, Tyson Foods’ chief marketing officer. “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 percent plant-based, blended and traditional protein offerings.”
Raised & Rooted nuggets will launch through national retailers in late summer and the blended burgers this fall. The products have been developed by Tyson Foods’ innovation, culinary and consumer insights teams in Chicago and Northwest Arkansas.
Tyson says the Raised & Rooted nuggets are made from a blend of pea protein isolate and other plant ingredients and contain 5g 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, Tyson says.
Aidells Whole Blends products include a portfolio of fully cooked sausage links and meatballs made with a blend of no-antibiotics-ever chicken and ingredients such as chickpeas, black beans, quinoa, lentils and barley.
Through Tyson Ventures, the company’s venture capital fund, Tyson Foods also continues its investment in startup companies involved in alternative proteins. Current investments include mushroom-based protein producer MycoTechnology and cell-based meat producers Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies.