America’s biggest meat companies want to sell you “blended meat” products

The evolution of “meat.”
The evolution of “meat.”
Image: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
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The world’s second largest meat company is moving a half step away from its age-old products by introducing a new line of ground beef that’s 50% ground beef and 50% plant-based.

Tyson’s decision to sell what’s called “blended meat” is an overt attempt to tap into the growing consumer interest in plant-based products. The announcement came just a day after another large American meat company, Perdue Farms, announced it was partnering with a startup called The Better Meat Co. to make blended chicken nuggets and patties.

“According to research, the leading reason more consumers have interest in alternative protein is health and wellness,” says Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson. “One of the biggest barriers has been taste.”

In Tyson’s case, beef and peas are used in its new product, which will be sold under “Raised & Rooted” branding.

Whether these blended products will find success in the larger market remains to be seen. Certainly some consumers are looking to adopt more plant-based foods for health and wellness reasons. But blended products don’t meet the concerns of people attracted to plant-based meat alternatives for animal welfare and environmental reasons.

The companies are claiming that about 75% of consumers are open to diets with blended products. That data is based, at least in part, off a national survey commissioned by The Better Meat Co., Perdue’s partner.

Tyson plans to debut its products in both grocery stores and restaurants. CEO Noel White said he expects blended meat lines will become a “billion-dollar brand,” according to Bloomberg.

The company’s decision to sell blended meat comes a little more than a month after Tyson sold its stake in California-based Beyond Meat, which shortly thereafter, in May, experienced a very successful initial public offering. Beyond Meat has seen its shares shoot up more than five-fold.

Tyson says its product will be rolled out into stores starting this summer. Perdue says it will follow suit in September.