It’s the age-old question, “Why did the plant-based chicken food formulators cross the road?”
Answer: “To get to the other side.”
Okay, so perhaps that’s a twist on the classic chicken joke. Yet there’s no joking about Kellogg Co.’s R&D team and how MorningStar Farms® formulators crossed the road and captured the next generation of plant-based meats.
Last year saw Kellogg introduce MorningStar Farms® Incogmeato® Homestyle Chik'n Tenders so restaurant operators could add plant-based protein to the menu. This back-of-house product can be quickly fried or baked and used in any and every daypart. Moreover, Incogmeato® Chik'n Tenders deliver consistent taste and texture without added labor.
MorningStar Farms® Incogmeato® Homestyle Chik'n Tenders
MorningStar Farms® Incogmeato® Homestyle Chik'n Tenders will be one of six noteworthy new products showcased this August in Prepared Foods’ Spirit of Innovation Awards.
Pre-register for this FREE industrywide event!
The plant-based product’s taste, texture and convenient appeal made it a 2021-2022 Prepared Foods Spirit of Innovation winner (“Best Foodservice Item / Back of House”) and it will be recognized this August 9 from 11.a.m.-1 p.m. EST in an industrywide webcast awards ceremony.
“What sets Homestyle Incogmeato® Chik’n Tenders apart from our competition is that we’ve unlocked the texture that flexitarians are looking for to deliver a just-like-meat experience,” says Shawn Busse, director of R&D at Kellogg Co. “We created a crave-worthy product to bring consumers and chefs a chik’n tender that looks, cooks, tastes and tears just like the real thing.”
Building on Basics, New Technology
For the record, MorningStar Farms® plant-based brand dates back 47 years to 1975 and its former founder, Worthington Foods. In this instance, Busse credits several functional groups—including R&D, culinary, insights, engineering, quality and procurement—for launching Incogmeato® Homestyle Chik’n Tenders.
“The product development team leveraged new and existing technologies—as well as learnings from past products—to meet our desired food target,” he says. “Past formula and ingredient learnings were important for flavor, texture and appearance.”
MorningStar Farms® Incogmeato® Homestyle Chik’n Tenders rely on a blend of non-GMO textured soy and gluten. Busse shares that key to product success involved years of perfecting that blend through high-moisture extrusion (HME).
“Our team replicated the tear-apart feel of real chicken using HME technology to create fibers that replicate the texture of real chicken without compromising taste or experience. We believe it’s a true game-changing experience to meet demand from consumers, chefs and restaurants.”
Speaking of chefs and restaurants, MorningStar Farms® sales reps are glad to be back in front of operator customers with another in-trend, on-demand product.
“Every time we introduce Incogmeato® Homestyle Chik’n Tenders to customers, we receive extremely positive feedback on the product flavor, texture and appearance,” says Busse. “Our favorite is when they ask, ‘Are you sure this isn’t real chicken?’”