Following the acquisition of Meatless B.V. earlier this year, BENEO used this year’s Fi Europe exhibition (Booth 4.C30) to announce the next step in its plant-based protein strategy. Scheduled for the second quarter of 2023, the ingredient manufacturer will expand its portfolio with its first-ever semi-finished product: plant-based chicken chunks. With a unique recipe and highly efficient patented process technology, BENEO offers manufacturers a scalable and effective way to tap into the plant-based trend, with the most authentic chicken imitation products.

Nearly one in two consumers across the globe are now interested in plant-based foods and beverages.  In Europe, the market for plant-based fish and meat substitutes is worth 3 billion Euro and is expected to grow by 14% CAGR during the next five years (globally: approx. 10% CAGR).  This new solution from BENEO enables manufacturers to meet the rising consumer demand for alternative meat products while providing them with easy-to-process, semi-finished products.

Having a pleasant taste and texture is the number one shopping motivator for flexitarian meat and fish alternative consumers.  With an authentic fibrous chicken-like structure, a juicy mouthfeel, and an irregular shape by design, BENEO’s vegan chicken chunks offer food producers even-more recipe versatility. The semi-finished plant-based product will come in fresh or frozen form and is made from main ingredients such as myco and pea protein, combined with flavoring. With a carbon footprint three times lower than regular chicken, this plant-based alternative also caters to the increasing consumer interest in more environmentally friendly solutions.

In the past, it has been challenging to combine high-quality taste and texture with scalability and a competitively priced plant-based alternative. Through Meatless’ unique and patented processing technology, it is now possible to create semi-finished products in an easily scalable way. The highly automated process, therefore, delivers crucial cost efficiencies for food manufacturers in today’s economic climate.

“When it comes to plant-based meat alternatives, taste, texture, and sustainability are king for consumers. There is incredible market potential for those food producers who can harness all three,” says Jos Hugense, Founder of Meatless. “Thanks to our new technology process we have been able to do just that, creating low-processed, short-ingredient-list imitation chicken chunks that deliver, both in terms of outstanding sensory quality and cost-effectiveness. Manufacturers wanting scalable, easy-to-implement solutions that don’t compromise on taste or enjoyment need look no further.”

“We’re really excited to be using this year’s Fi Europe show as a platform to announce the next strategic step on our plant-based roadmap with our first semi-finished product,” adds Dominique Speleers, Member of the Executive Board at BENEO. “We are confident that our plant-based chicken chunks—combining sophisticated taste, texture, and appearance with an easy-to-use approach—perfectly suit the needs of the market. They further extend our versatile toolbox for exceptional quality meat and fish alternatives that meet the high expectations of today’s consumers.”

Visitors to Fi Europe could get a first taste of BENEO’s plant-based chicken chunks on its stand, where award-winning Belgian vegan chef, Pieter-Jan Lint, will be cooking up a storm using prototypes of the new semi-finished product.