Impossible Foods chicken nuggets are coming this fall

The food will make its way to restaurants first.

Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods will debut plant-based chicken nuggets this fall, the company told Bloomberg on Friday. As with its past releases, the startup plans to first sell the food to restaurants, with supermarket availability to follow later. But before all that, it will debut them at a trade show next week.

One thing that will distinguish the nuggets from Impossible’s past products is the absence of heme, a molecule the company says is what makes “meat taste like meat.” But the problem with Impossible’s heme is that the company makes it with genetically engineered yeast. That’s something that has prevented Impossible from selling its burgers and sausages in China and throughout Europe. But when it comes to real chicken, there isn’t a lot of heme in the white meat of the animal. “We found in a nugget format, which is breaded and has some seasoning, it really wasn’t that necessary.” Laura Kilman, a flavor scientist with Impossible, told Bloomberg. The formula the company eventually settled on mostly makes use of soy protein and sunflower oil.

Compared to Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods is late to offer a chicken alternative. “We’ve been busy with other things,” Dennis Woodside, the company’s president, told Bloomberg. To that point, Impossible introduced a pork substitute at CES 2020.

All the same, that might not matter much. Earlier in the week, Popeyes announced it was adding chicken nuggets to its menu in hopes of replicating the success of its chicken sandwich. The latter sparked a “war” between fast food chains as demand for chicken increased in the US and throughout the world. That's something that could help Impossible when its plant-based chicken starts making its way to consumers.