US – Beyond Meat has announced plans to launch a chicken alternative this summer, more than a year after it pulled its frozen chicken-strips from shelves.

The chicken strips were the first plant-based meat alternatives that the company first produced when it entered the market back in 2012.

The company however decided to stop their production because they “weren’t delivering the same plant-based meat experience as some of our more popular products, like the Beyond Burger and Beyond Sausage.”

But as a public company looking for growth, expanding beyond beef is a logical move given chicken’s popularity around the world.

According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization data cited by the USDA, poultry is second only to pork as the most widely eaten meat in the world.

With a third of the globe eating chicken, companies that want to further cement their dominance in the plant-based space have little choice but to enter the category.

Americans are forecast to consume an average of 98 pounds of chicken per capita this year, the National Chicken Council estimates, equating to more than 31 billion pounds.

Data from the industry group shows chicken consumption has been gradually rising for decades, more than doubling from 40 pounds in 1970.

This is precisely why Beyond Meat and its peer want to have a share of the pie currently being enjoyed by conventional meat companies such as Tyson Foods and JBS.

Even grabbing a small slice of the market could lead to millions of dollars in sales and companies such as Nestlé, Conagra, and Kellog have all launched their chicken alternatives in an effort to have a slice on the market.

Despite being an early player in plant-based chicken, Beyond Meat slowly faded away and now appears to be making a big comeback.

Beyond Meat has already trialed a plant-based chicked offering at KFC stores, and lessons achieved from the trial likely gave the company confidence to move ahead with a broader retail roll out this year.

Even as it works to re-enter the plant-based chicken market, Beyond Meat has not slacked in its more lucrative beef offering and recently announced that it will be debuting in May a newer Beyond Burger, designed to taste meatier and juicier with 35% less fat and fewer calories than 80/20 ground beef.

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