There’s a new vegan meat brand at Sprouts Farmers Market. LikeMeat, which is part of LIVEKINDLY Collective’s portfolio of brands, is making its official U.S. debut. And it’s coming in strong with four plant-based products that make it easy to eat less of one of America’s favorite proteins: chicken.
If one thing is certain, it’s that chicken nuggets, tenders, chicken tacos, and more are a popular choice among Americans. According to USDA estimates, the average American will eat 98 pounds of chicken this year. And, it was estimated that the U.S. ate a record-breaking 1.4 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl LIV weekend, 27 million more than last year. And for many looking to eat more plant-based food, finding a good alternative to chicken has been a struggle.
That’s where LikeMeat comes in. At its core, LikeMeat believes that eating plant-based should be delicious, without compromise. Not only that, but it also should be easy, too.
Vegan Chicken That Cooks Like the Real Thing
Now available in Sprouts, LikeMeat’s is kicking off its U.S. debut with four vegan chicken products in the refrigerated aisle: Like Nuggets, Like Grilled Chick’n, Like Chick’n Pieces, and Like BBQ Chick’n. As far as taste and texture go, they’ve nailed it—and we really mean that. Made from non-GMO soy protein, each product looks and cooks just like chicken, right down to that craveable, juicy, pull-apart texture, making it easier than ever to recreate your favorite dishes. So, you won’t ever feel lost learning how to cook with a new protein.
And if you’re worried about protein, don’t be: LikeMeat’s Like Grilled Chick’n and Like Chick’n Pieces pack 19 grams of plant protein per serving. Like BBQ Chick’n contains 17 grams of protein and a serving of Like Nuggets gives you 9 grams of protein. By comparison, a serving of fast-food chicken nuggets contains 10 grams of protein. It may be short one gram, but it makes up for it on the nutrition front. Plant-based chicken is lower in calories, lower in fat, lower in sodium, and higher in fiber.
The story behind the LikeMeat is just as good as its plant-based chicken. And it starts where you’d least expect it: in the meat industry.
Changing Directions: From Traditional Meat to Making Meat From Plants
For some people, going into the family business is a given. The Walton family owns about half of Walmart. Meat producer Tyson Foods is still helmed by the Tyson family. But for Timo Recker, founder of LikeMeat, things took a 180.
German-born Recker, the founder of vegan meat brand LikeMeat, is a third-generation member of a family in the meat industry. Like his parents before him, Recker was set to work in the family business.
But, working in meat production “gave me an awareness and a deep understanding of the meat industry,” Recker tells LIVEKINDLY on a Zoom call. “And seeing slaughterhouses for chickens or for pork made me really wonder if this is a way forward.”
Farm animals outnumber humans by far. The world’s stock of chickens — 19 billion — is three times the human population, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.
Recker’s inkling was right — there was another way — and it meant making it easy for people to swap chicken with plants.
Meat Made for Meat-Lovers, But Better
“And so having this awareness, I thought, you know, I’m the next generation,” says Recker. Using funding from his father and leveraging his family’s decades of experience in the food industry, Recker launched LikeMeat in 2013.
“We needed to get a new kind of meat product for meat-eaters, because I myself am a meat-lover,” says Recker.
But, getting people to stop eating meat or just eat less of it is no easy feat. As a lifelong meat-eater, Recker knew that it was unrealistic to expect people to quit meat outright. Food is more than what we eat: it’s an important part of our identity with deep cultural and familial ties. And like American cuisine, German cuisine is far from vegetarian; pork, beef, duck, lamb, and other meats are often at the center of the plate.
The solution was simple. Make the kind of food people that crave: meat, but better. Something you can feel good about adding to your plate. And it worked. LikeMeat was profitable after just six years, a real testament to just how good the products are.
“I believe in consciousness, making the right choices. And I believe in giving everyone the power to make choices,” says Recker.
“So we need products for people who like meat, because this is the big market,” he adds. “And the majority of the world population eats meat, so to convert them to vegan would take a lot of time, if that would be even possible.”
Food technology has rapidly evolved in the past few decades. Recker’s philosophy is deeply ingrained in LikeMeat: we don’t need animals for meat because we can make meat from plants, like chicken-free chicken that cooks like the real thing and has that succulent, fibrous texture of meat.
“It’s very difficult to change people,” says Recker. “And we don’t need to do this. It’s up to us, the industry, with our brands to gain trust, and to give the option to provide a product they’re happy to choose freely, because they think, ‘well, it gives me all the taste, it gives me all the flavor, all the great experience.”
Find LikeMeat’s vegan chicken products in the refrigerated aisle at Sprouts. Try it out in these recipes:
To learn more about LikeMeat, visit the website.
This is a sponsored post.