Beyond Chicken tenders have been available at the Grocery Outlet for $2.99, compared to the normal price of between $5 and $6. However, last weekend they were reduced even further to $1.99 (at least in one store), so it’s a good time to try them out if you’re thinking of reducing your carbon footprint or reducing harm to animals. We kill around 50 billion chickens per year, for worldwide meat production – that’s over 6 times the number of humans on earth, slaughtered every year. The vast majority of the chickens live in extremely crowded, inhumane conditions. The business of slaughtering animals is also creating a negative miasma in society – check out this post on the social impact of the meat industry.
Beyond Chicken Tenders – review
First off, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a chicken nugget, so it’s hard for me to compare Beyond Chicken directly to chicken. However, you can check online for reviews of plant-based chicken tenders and you’ll find that most of the taste panelists (The Kitchn, Food Network, Buzzfeed, etc.) consider them to be very close in taste and texture to real chicken. Is there really any need to eat chicken anymore?
I have, however, had many kinds of plant-based chicken nuggets and I’ll say that these stand out for juiciness and meatiness. They pair perfectly with JUST vegan mayo (which I need to review here at some point) for dipping, but also work quite well with Spero vegan goat cheese and many other options.
My most important tip is that I’d recommend cooking for longer than the 8 minutes directed on the packet or you may find them a bit too juicy! I find that around 12 to 15 minutes in a toaster oven (turning halfway) gives the best results. Cooking in an air fryer also gives very good results.
Beyond Chicken Tenders – Ingredients and Nutrition
There are certainly a lot of ingredients – I wouldn’t eat these on a daily basis – but it’s still a lot better than a regular chicken nugget. It’s worth mentioning that folk who eat a lot of animal-based protein have shorter lives, relative to those who follow plant-based diets.
Beyond Chicken Tenders – Ingredients: Water, Faba Bean Protein, Breading (Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Salt, Corn Starch, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Wheat Gluten, Paprika, Spices, Dextrose, Leavening[Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate], Sugar, Sunflower Oil, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors), Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Sea Salt, Dried Yeast), Vital Wheat Gluten, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Pea starch, Methylcellulose, and 1% or less of Yeast Extract, Refined Coconut Oil, Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Sodium Phosphates, Spices, Titanium dioxide (for color), Sunflower Lecithin. Contains: Wheat, May Contain Soy
Beyond Chicken Tenders – Nutrition Facts: The fat content is not super high – I thought there would be more, based on the taste. They do contain sodium 20% of your recommended sodium intake, per serving, so I would recommend sticking to the serving size. Also, as the picture below shows, I ate four of them (2 servings) in one meal and found that this was too much – they are pretty filling.
Ethical rating for Beyond Chicken Tenders
I’ve previously written about the sustainability of Beyond Meat on The Green Stars Project, so please take a look at that post for more information, including detail on a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of peas versus other protein such as meat. Beyond Meat started off well with that LCA study and pretty minimal packaging for their Beyond Sausage and Cookout Classic burgers 10-pack. Since then, Beyond Meat haven’t produced much new information on sustainability, and the amount of packaging for some of the newer products, like these Beyond Chicken Tenders is pretty high, relative to the contents. Beyond Meat still rates well, ethically, but needs to step it up right now – having Kim Kardashian telling us that Beyond Meat is better for the planet is not enough.
I think that Beyond Chicken Tenders deserve 4/5 Green Stars for social and environmental impact, based on these factors:
- Beyond Chicken is a vegan product. Adopting a plant-based diet is the top thing you can do to mitigate deforestation & climate change and to end animal cruelty and the insidious negative impact that the meat industry has on society.
- The main ingredients, faba (fava) beans, peas, and wheat are far more sustainable than meat.
- Legumes such as peas and beans are among the most sustainable protein sources, as shown in many studies such as the well-regarded 2018 study by Poore and Nemecek.
- Legumes generally require far less fertilizer as the plants fix their own nitrogen
- Packaging for Beyond Chicken Tenders is disappointing compared to Beyond Sausage and other Beyond Meat products – a thick plastic bag was used when a box could have been used (e.g., as used by Quorn).
- Unlike other Beyond Meat products, this one is not non-GMO certified – this is also a step backward for Beyond Meat. I don’t expect the beans and peas to be organic, but other ingredients should be.
- I’d also like to see corporate sustainability reports from Beyond Meat and more information on ingredient sourcing.
Summary scores (out of 5) for Beyond Chicken Tenders:
- 4.5 gold stars for quality and value
- 4 green stars for social and environmental impact
If you have a different opinion, please share your rating!