US – Plant-based Impossible Chicken Nuggets have made their first debut in the US consumer market, launching in some restaurants across the United States as the company gears up for  a retail distribution later this month. 

The nuggets are soy-based with sunflower oil, and do not use any of Impossible Foods’ plant-based heme — the company’s signature ingredient that gives meat its distinctive taste.  

Impossible Chicken Nuggets have 40% less saturated fat and 25% less sodium than animal-based chicken nuggets, the company says.  

They also do not use titanium dioxide, a controversial and common whitening ingredient that has was recently flagged by the European Food Safety Association. 

Having made its debut, Impossible foods now has its eyes on retail and plans to launch at stores including Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway, ShopRite, Giant, and Gelsons, later this month. 

By the end of the year, Impossible Chicken Nuggets are slated to be available at more than 10,000 retail locations. 

Impossible Chicken Nuggets are the company’s third big meat-mimicking product and were announced in media reports ahead of a foodservice trade show in July. 

Their launch makes the company the latest to enter the red-hot chicken alternative market, which has recently gained several entrants, including Beyond Meat’s chicken tenders in foodservice, a “tearable” chicken tender from Kellogg’s MorningStar Farms Incogmeato and a QSR push for Monde Nissin’s Quorn.  

Impossible has found success as a leader in plant-based burgers, and after more than a year in restaurants, launched its plant-based pork Impossible Sausage in retail stores last month.  

The latest debut of plant-based chicken nuggets shows the company’s commitment to achieving its goal of eliminating the need for animal agriculture by 2035. 

USDA seeks opinion on labelling of cell-based meat

Meanwhile, The USDA is seeking comments and information about how to label cell-based meat products with the aim of helping inform the federal government as it develops a comprehensive regulatory framework for the upcoming segment. 

Among questions the USDA wants commenters to answer are whether product names of cell-based meat items need to differentiate them from items that came from animals. 

It also seeks to get opinions on which terms would work best for this type of product and which ones would be misleading. 

Other questions that it seeks to answer include how cell-based meat would fit into current standards of identity for meat; how to include cell-based meat products on ingredients lists for finished products; and which physical and nutritional aspects would most likely to attract consumers to purchase these products. 

The request by USDA follows a similar request for information regarding cell-based foods by FDA last October. 

The two organizations: USDA and FDA  formally agreed to jointly regulate products in the cell-based meat space in 2019 and have been working behind the scenes to make approval of cell-based meat in the US a reality. 

Currently, only Singapore has a regulatory framework for commercial production of cell-based meat while Eat-Just is the only food company with regulatory approval for lab-grown meat. 

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