This Brand Hired a Popeye’s Veteran to Perfect Its Vegan Chicken Recipe
About 65 percent of Americans ate vegan meat last year, and consumers across the United States are hungry for more. Entering into the already competitive market, San Francisco-based brand Nowadays has recruited a fast-food chain veteran to help develop its new crispy "whole-cut" cutlets and tenders. Former Wendy's and Popeye's product developer Chris Johnson has joined Nowadays as its Director of Product Development with plans to use his expertise to the brand better its product selections.
“The cutlets and tenders will retain Nowadays competitive and unparalleled nutritional profile made with only simple, wholesome ingredients,” the brand revealed. “Our cutlets are made up of non-GMO pea protein and feature a crispy panko-style breading with a craveable crunch and a blend of savory spices with hints of garlic, cayenne, and pepper. Both products can be fried or baked to a crisp, golden brown."
Nowadays immediately caught the attention of the vegan meat market with its healthier, plant-based nuggets. Now, the brand will expand its product selection to include cutlets and tenders as it expands in the retail and food service sectors. Both the cutlets and tenders will be commercially available by early 2023.
“I was exposed to several plant-based meat brands during my time at Wendy’s and was inspired by the impact they could have — but also saw an opportunity to make plant-based products more meat-like in flavor, texture, and versatility that mainstream eaters would enjoy,” Johnson tells VegNews. “Working with Nowadays offers me the opportunity to develop plant-based products designed for the mainstream, with a simple ingredient approach that makes me proud."
Typically viewed as junk food, conventional fried chicken presents serious health risks such as heart disease and high cholesterol. The Nowadays team hopes to provide shoppers with a plant-based option that cuts the "junk" from the comfort classic. Soon, the company intends to introduce millions of Americans to several plant-based chicken variations.
“We’re taking the junk out of junk food by reinventing classic favorites with only a few simple, animal-free ingredients that are better for you, your family, and the planet,” Nowadays’ Co-founders Max Elder and Dominik Grabinski stated.
Nowadays Secures a Massive Seed Funding Round
Two years ago, Elder and Grabinski launched Nowadays to help curb the negative effects of animal agriculture and to provide customers with healthier options. With 13 grams of protein per serving, the plant-based chicken consists of only seven ingredients including water, yellow pea protein, whole wheat flour, sunflower oil, maple fiber, yeast extract, and mushroom extract.
This April, Nowadays secured $10 million during its seed funding round. The massive investment will help the company expand its commercialization, improve its food technology facilities, and expand its distribution range. The seed round also caught the intention of Standard Meat Company, a fourth-generation meat producer that's recently become interested in the plant-based sector.
"At Standard Meat, we are constantly looking ahead to the future, bringing innovation to every aspect of our business. Today, that means investing in and supporting Nowadays and their plant-based meats that will deliver the nutritional benefits flexitarians are craving," Standard Meat CEO & Co-President Ben Rosenthal said. "We know that consumers want a variety of quality protein choices, and we are looking forward to lending our operational expertise and culinary credibility as Nowadays scales manufacturing and launches new products."
Where to Find Nowadays Vegan Chicken
Nowadays announced that its plant-based nuggets would become available at all Whole Food Market locations in the Southern Pacific Region, making the vegan nuggets available for in-store retail purchase for the first time. The brand is continuing to expand its retail partnerships in the fall and winter. Shoppers can also find plant-based nuggets on the Nowadays website for $39.99 per 50 nuggets.
The vegan startup has teamed up with several restaurants nationwide. The company's nuggets can be found at Aunt et Uncles in Brooklyn, New York, or at the vegan burger chain Honeybee Burger in Brooklyn New York. The nuggets are offered at Cybelle's Front Room and Veganburg in San Francisco as well as Toarmina's Pizza Canton in Canton. Michigan.
Missing chicken? Check out The Beet's Best Vegan Chicken Nuggets.