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Tyson Foods launches full-scale attack on Beyond Meat

Brian Sozzi

Tyson Foods (TSN) is finally getting into the mutant-meat game being dominated by one-time friend Beyond Meat (BYND) and its heated rival Impossible Foods.

The U.S.’s largest meat producer said Thursday it will debut several new plant-based products under the Raised & Rooted brand. Nuggets will debut at several undisclosed major retailers later this summer while blended burgers will hit shelves in the fall.

Note the word blended as Tyson hasn’t gone full-scale mutant meat cooked up in a lab here like its upstart competitors. The nuggets are simply made from pea protein isolate and other plant ingredients, Tyson says. In other words, typical veggie nuggets. The blended burgers are made with a mix of Angus beef and pea protein.

Credit: Tyson Foods

Tyson is touting that the blended burgers have fewer calories and less saturated fat than its competitors.

Underscoring the importance of a product launch into the red-hot plant-based food market, Tyson Foods nabbed a comment from its new CEO Noel White. Normally in the consumer products space, product launches aren’t that big a deal — and even when they, a lower level executive comments.

“Today’s consumers are seeking more protein options so we’re creating new products for the growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat- and plant-based protein,” said Noel White, president and CEO of Tyson Foods in a statement. “For us, this is about ‘and’ – not ‘or.’ We remain firmly committed to our growing traditional meat business and expect to be a market leader in alternative protein, which is experiencing double-digit growth and could someday be a billion-dollar business for our company.”

For Tyson, the announcement has to be somewhat bittersweet.

The company dumped its 6.5% stake in Beyond Meat ahead of the plant-based meat company’s IPO in early May. Since then, Beyond Meat’s stock has exploded 115% amid a solid first quarter earnings report and insane levels of enthusiasm for the story on Wall Street.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-host of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Brian Sozzi him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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