This week, meat giant Tyson Foods announced the launch of its Raised & Rooted line focusing on offering “great-tasting plant-based and blended foods that are rooted in how people eat today.” The two products Tyson initially added to the line include The Blend burger patties made mostly with beef and pea protein isolate—a key ingredient in many plant-based meat products—and Nuggets Made with Plants, meatless nuggets that contain egg whites. “While most Americans still choose meat as their primary source of protein, interest in plant and blended proteins is growing significantly,” Noelle O’Mara, Tyson Foods’ chief marketing officer, said. “These products appeal to a broad cross section of consumers who enjoy food from a variety of protein sources, and we expect interest to continue to grow across protein types.” Tyson previously held a 6.5 percent stake in Beyond Meat and sold its stake in the vegan company to pursue its own plant-based alternatives—which it has yet to add to its new line. “The Raised & Rooted launch and our pipeline of innovation will reflect our consumers expectations for 100-percent plant-based, blended, and traditional protein offerings,” O’Mara said. Animal-rights organization Compassion Over Killing (COK) critiqued Tyson’s new products, which, while capitalizing on the growing trend of plant-based foods, fail to fill consumer demand in that space. “Though Tyson said these ‘innovations’ make it the largest meat producer to enter the alternative protein space, we can’t help but wonder if a vegetarian item and animal meat burger really count,” COK stated. “The company’s use of egg whites in this new product contributes to massive suffering on factory farms, where gentle hens are confined to tiny wire cages unable to stretch their wings or walk. Hens and cows deserve better, and even with this attempt to join the alternative protein space, Tyson is falling behind.”

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