This week, sausage giant Jimmy Dean announced the launch of what it calls “plant-based” sausage patties—its first entry into the meatless meat industry. The patties are made from a blend of soy protein and animal-derived egg whites and are featured in two breakfast products: Plant-Based Patty, Egg & Cheese Croissant Sandwich and Jimmy Dean Delights Plant-Based Patty & Frittata Sandwich (both of which contain additional animal products). The croissant sandwich is now available at Sam’s Club while the frittata sandwich will launch at retailers nationwide this spring.
Jimmy Dean—which is owned by meat giant Tyson Foods—believes that the launch of these products capitalizes on booming sales of plant-based foods, which grew by 148 percent year-over-year in mid-March 2020. “Plant-based foods are revolutionizing the way people eat across meal occasions, including breakfast,” Scott Glenn, Jimmy Dean Senior Director of Marketing, said. “As the protein breakfast leader, expanding our portfolio to provide people with alternative choices was critical. We also had to deliver the same signature flavor and quality people expect from the Jimmy Dean brand with our new sandwiches, and we’re excited for both our lifelong and new fans to try them.”
To create the “plant-based” patties, Jimmy Dean worked with a group of its longtime customers who provided feedback on the new products. “We’re thankful to the loyal Jimmy Dean fans who share our passion for breakfast, and we’re excited to introduce new people to the Jimmy Dean brand as we bring innovations to market to meet evolving consumer needs, like the plant-based patty breakfast sandwiches,” Glenn said.
Tyson’s “plant-based” snafus
This isn’t the first time that Tyson got its messaging wrong. In 2019, Tyson launched its first meatless line Raised & Rooted with two products: Nuggets Made with Plants (meatless chicken nuggets that contained egg whites) and The Blend burger patties made mostly with beef and pea protein isolate—a key ingredient in many plant-based meat products. In late 2020, David Ervin, Vice President of Alternative Protein at Tyson, revealed that the Raised & Rooted line would eliminate eggs and discontinue the blended burger to open itself up to consumers searching for fully plant-based products.