Spicy food fans, get ready. Gardein is launching vegan Nashville hot chicken.
The new Nashville Hot Chick’n Tenders are made from a blend of wheat and pea protein and feature a crispy breadcrumb coating with spicy seasoning. The product is part of a larger rollout of new vegan products including Italian sausage patties, breakfast sausage, skillet meals, an eggs Benedict bowl, and a shakshuka bowl, according to a press release.
Vegan Meat Equals Big Money
A recent Nielsen report commissioned by nonprofit organizations the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute revealed that sales of vegan meat are growing ten times faster than traditional meat. While vegan meat sales climbed 37 percent in 2018, animal-based meat fell by 2 percent.
Gardein and the Meat-Free Market Boom
Conagra Brands-owned Gardein is the second-largest meat-free brand with sales of more than $170 million, outpaced only by Kellogg-owned MorningStar Farms, a longstanding vegetarian brand that’s in the process of updating all of its products to vegan recipes.
Sales of Gardein products have quadrupled over the past four years, CEO Sean Connolly told Food Business News earlier this year. The company will soon add additional production capacity to its factories in Richmond, British Columia, and Hagerstown, Maryland, in order to help meet the rising consumer demand for plant-based products.
“Fifty-two percent of households purchase plant-based foods and more than 60 percent are trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet, yet have concerns that they’ll sacrifice taste or texture,” Tara Rozalowsky, Vice President and General Manager at Conagra Brands, said in a press release.
The popularity of the “flexitarian” diet — where consumers make a conscious effort to eat fewer animal products for health, environmental, and animal welfare reasons — is on the rise.
“Gardein’s strength has always been that we offer a wide variety of delicious plant-based meat alternatives for chicken, beef, pork, fish, and seafood. Gardein offers home cooks and chefs alike a great way to make any dish plant-based,” Rozalowsky said.
The spicy vegan Nashville hot chicken is expected to launch in stores later this summer. Additional new products on the way include Gardein’s Ultimate range, featuring realistic vegan burgers, sausage, and hot dogs.