The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Beyond Meat™: Veggie Chicken Strips from a Cumberland, Maryland Company

Posted on June 04, 2012 by The VRG Blog Editor

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

Beyond Meat™, from Savage River, Inc., a new meat analog company founded by Ethan Brown and based in Cumberland, Maryland, began out of concern for farm animals. Spending weekends as a child on his family’s farm, Ethan Brown grew increasingly concerned about the plight of animals raised for food. He eventually became vegan. Unsatisfied with meat analogs on the market, he decided to start a company that offered something “more realistic, tastier and cheaper.” He turned to Fu-Hung Hsieh at the University of Missouri.

Fu-Hung Hsieh, biological engineering professor at the University of Missouri, and his assistant Harold Huff, perfected over many years the technology to make a meat analog. They used an industrial extruder to which a powder mix is added to water in certain proportions and heated to a very high temperature such that meat-like striations form. Then the product is quickly cooled so that it will not melt but retain its fibrous, meat-like texture. The entire process takes only seconds. The University sold exclusive licensing rights to Brown.

Made from soy, pea protein, amaranth, and carrot fiber with a few other vegan ingredients, Beyond Meat™ Veggie Chicken Strips, according to Brown, “will appeal to vegans and vegetarians as well as mainstream consumers looking to incorporate meatless meals into their diets while maintaining the taste and texture of meat.” According to product literature, a three oz. serving of Beyond Meat™ Veggie Chicken Strips contains “18 g of complete protein, no saturated or trans fats, and is gluten-free.” It is rich in iron and low in sodium (“260 mg/3 oz. compared to similar products with up to 690 mg/3 oz. serving”). There is no white sugar in the product (the typically corn-derived sweetener, maltodextrin, is listed as an ingredient).

Brent Taylor, Vice President of Corporate Development for Beyond Meat™, told The VRG that “unlike other meat analogs, ours has a visible fiber structure that pulls apart with your fingers…and I can eat it, stand alone, hot or cold, just like real chicken.”

The VRG first learned of Brown’s product in October 2011, when the writer spotted it on the menu at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s ThanksLiving: http://woodstocksanctuary.org/news-events/events/thanksliving-2011/. There it was served as Savage River Faux Chicken Rajas in Orange Garlic Mojo. Since then, it has been served in many Mid-Atlantic universities and hospitals.

Mary Adams, Vice President of Marketing for Beyond Meat™, told us that “…36 northern California Whole Foods Markets will begin using Beyond Meat™ in some of its prepared food items in mid-June 2012.” These items may include chicken wraps, pastas, enchiladas, and salads. In Fall 2012, the product will be available to consumers as a retail item. Further expansion to other Whole Foods Markets, mainstream supermarkets, convenience stores, and similar establishments, is planned.

Soon to be launched by the company is a product called Veggie Beef Crumble first to be used in food service with eventual plans for retail sale. Plans for a pork analog are also in progress.

For updates to Beyond Meat’s™ entry to the marketplace, readers may consult its website: http://gobeyondmeat.com/

For recent press on Beyond Meat™, readers may find out more at these sources:

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from companies. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.

For more information on food processing methods and food ingredients and to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients, please visit our website at http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php

For updates on ingredients and other information of interest to vegetarians and vegans, please subscribe to our e-newsletter: http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews

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1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 22 05 13 09:24

    The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

3 to “Beyond Meat™: Veggie Chicken Strips from a Cumberland, Maryland Company”

  1. M. King says:

    Maltodextrin is synthesized from corn or wheat starch. Wheat is probably not GMO, but it is a gluten containing starch. However, corn, which is 90% GMO in the U.S. is used the majority of the time. It cannot be certified GMO free, or organic, if it contains maltodextrin. As an ingredient it is totally non-essential. Rice starch would be preferable as it can easily be gotten in the U.S. without GMO. I recently did a lot of research and telephoning on maltodextrin as a lot of companies are adding it to their products. If it is only being added for sweetness, organic sugar would be preferable. I don’t know why it is being stuffed into so many products, but I will not buy anything with maltodextrin in it.

  2. calscot says:

    Natural flavouring:

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4676616/ns/today-food/t/food-qa-just-what-natural-flavoring/#.UDJCQt1mQ1A

    The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).

  3. vijay says:

    Watch out for ill effects of high soy consumption. Veg / Vegan food is not all that bad, try proper Indian food. Roti, Dhal(All sort of lentils), Boiled Rice, Subji(All vegetables), Idli, Dosa, Vada, Samosa, Sweets with no milk.

    Get ingredients and make your own food, anything thats processed is not good, you never know what goes it.



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