This week, North Carolina-based vegan brand Improved Nature debuted a four-item line of plant-based chicken products at more than 300 locations of ShopRite in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Founded in 2015 by a team that includes Lunchables inventor Richard “Rody” Hawkins, the brand’s vegan nuggets, tenders, filets, and large filets are made from non-GMO soy protein that undergoes a process that relies on heat, pressure, and steam to create the texture of chicken. “This is a really exciting time for us, as well as the food industry overall,” Hawkins said. “Since the launch of several plant-based beef alternative companies, there has been a growing demand for plant-based chicken alternatives. We have the answer with our flavorful, all-natural product line. Choosing Improved Nature products gives meat-reducing consumers a tasty and healthy alternative to eating chicken.” Prior to the retail launch at ShopRite, Improved Nature’s vegan products have been available through the foodservice industry, including at schools in California. In September, Perky Jerky launched its first vegan line thanks to a collaboration with Improved Nature that helped the meat brand create soy-based jerky using its proprietary technology.