All aboard the Impossible Foods nugget train

·2 min read
People smiling at Impossible Foods event
People smiling at Impossible Foods event

It’s been a month of unusually plentiful plant-based chicken news, hasn’t it? On July 8, Beyond announced the release of its new faux-chicken tenders. Last week, Panda Express tantalized fans with news of meatless Orange Chicken. And today, I’m pleased to share good tidings of meat-free nuggetry: Impossible Foods is planning to add plant-based chicken nuggets to its roster.

Per Bloomberg, Impossible Foods will unveil the new product to U.S. operators at a trade show next week. The brand is reportedly eyeing a fall launch date for the nuggets, which include soy protein and sunflower oil in an attempt to mimic the texture and taste of sweet, sweet chicken flesh.

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Bloomberg adds that the nuggets do not include heme, the meaty molecule that gives the company’s other faux-meat products their fleshy texture. Heme, which is produced from genetically modified yeast, is great—but it’s unauthorized in China and European Union countries, where certain genetically modified ingredients are banned for human consumption. That makes things tricky for Impossible Foods, which is preparing to go public within the next year or so. On a practical basis, any global takeover would have to be heme-free.

Either way, faux-chicken products are, in theory, much easier to successfully produce than faux-beef products (looking at you, delicious Morningstar nuggets). The flesh doesn’t need to “bleed” to appear lifelike, and the poultry-ish taste is milder and less complex than, say, meatless ground beef. There’s no word yet on the scale of the product’s fall release; the nuggets could go direct to consumer, or Impossible Foods could partner with foodservice institutions the way Beyond did earlier this month. Either way, we’ll be sure to sashay into the nugget-verse for a taste test as soon as is humanly possible.