Movies theaters have faced some of their biggest years of hardship since the onset of the pandemic. Unlike other industries slowed down by COVID, theaters struggled to bounce back as streaming services gobbled up movie-goers attention. Now, AMC Theatres is looking to entice younger customers with its new all plant-based chicken nuggets.

Today, AMC Theatres is taking a new approach to getting customers back to the theater: The cinema chain just announced that it partnered with vegan food giant Impossible Foods, introducing vegan chicken nuggets to hundreds of theaters across 37 states. The vegan chicken will be available nationwide starting on January 12.

“We’ve been working for years to be able to make this announcement. Next week, we will introduce at most of our AMC-brand theatres Impossible Nuggets,” AMC CEO Adam Aron announced on Twitter last week. “With crispy breading on the outside and a tender juicy bite on the inside, it’s hard to believe they are made solely from plants.”

Impossible’s partnership with AMC is the latest expansion for its plant-based chicken alternative. The company debuted the vegan nuggets late last year, adding the Impossible product to menus nationwide. Impossible also teamed up with Burger King to make the plant-based protein available across the United States. Now, AMC will make the vegan chicken even more widely available, marking the first time a major theater company will introduce a plant-based protein.

AMC Plans to Bring Young People Back to the Theater

For AMC Theatres, the plant-based menu option will act as a significant draw for younger consumers. Both Gen-Z and Millennials have increasingly stopped attending movies theaters due to a mixture of streaming platform premieres and concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, as returning to the theater becomes safer, vegan chicken nuggets could entice people to return to in-person premieres. According to a survey from last year, 54 percent of Millennials would consider themselves flexitarian, noting their desire to incorporate more plant-based foods. Increasingly, younger generations prioritize sustainability and nutrition in their dietary choices, meaning that they would often choose to frequent an establishment with more plant-based products than those without.

A study entitled The Future of Plant-Based Snapshot identified health, animal welfare, and sustainability as the top motivators for Gen-Z and Millennials’ affinity for plant-based alternatives. The 2021 study explains how multiple industries have had to pivot to plant-based alternatives as these younger generations continue to fuel plant-based growth.

“As consumers continue to prepare more meals in the home and younger generations cook more, plant-based foods and ingredients will be a part of their repertoire,” Food industry analyst at NY-based NPD and co-author of the study Darren Seifer said. “In addition to providing a variety of plant-based foods and ingredients, food manufacturers should also focus efforts on Millennials and Gen Zs, since they will be driving the category’s growth. Their concerns for sustainability and animal welfare should also be taken into account when messaging to them.”

Impossible’s plant-based chicken entered into an expansive world of plant-based chicken, joining other brands including Beyond Meat and Lightlife in making vegan chicken widely accessible. This week, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) debut its plant-based chicken made in partnership with Beyond Meat. The KFC Beyond Chicken Tenders will be available at approximately 4,000 locations nationwide. The fast-food debut closely follows Beyond’s initial launch where it distributed the plant-based tenders to nearly 400 restaurants of all categories nationwide.

Alongside Beyond, Lightlife just announced a plant-based chicken partnership with 7-Eleven in Canada. The convenience store chain will be introducing the Plant-Based Chick’n Tenders to more than 600 stores across Canada, making the signature Lightlife chicken affordably available to thousands of Canadian consumers. The partnership will run alongside Lightlife’s long-standing partnership with Whole Foods Market, which recently debuted its first vegan grilled chicken product.

Now, AMC Theatres will bring the plant-based chicken to customers in a new setting. Customers will be able to find the Impossible nuggets when visiting the cinemas in states including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. When looking for a specific location nearby, use the AMC Theatre store locator to find out which theater has Impossible Nuggets in stock.

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