Tyson's Vegan "Meat" Could Hit Shelves This Year

One of the largest meat companies in the world could introduce vegan offerings this year. In a first-quarter earnings call this week, Tyson's president and chief executive Noel White said the company is developing plant-based meat alternatives that could reach grocery stores as early as this year. The Wall Street Journal reports White said the company will make a "significant" announcement on the subject in the coming weeks.

White acknowledged that demand for non-meat alternatives is growing, especially those products that replicate the look, texture, and flavor of meat, a la the Impossible Burger. Retail sales of plant-based foods are growing while meat prices have been falling; MarketWatch notes that to hedge its bets, Tyson invested in Beyond Meat, a company that makes vegan meat alternatives, in 2016.

What's intriguing about Tyson's upcoming news and likely vegan product launch is that Tyson is so ubiquitous in the marketplace. Tyson products are in seemingly every major grocery case from coast to coast: in middle America, in Walmarts, in Krogers, etc. Tyson isn't some hipster brand from L.A., it's the chicken your aunt in Duluth buys, and it's the Buffalo wings your grandpa's kept in the garage freezer since 2015. Like White Castle introducing its plant-based slider, this seems to indicate a true mainstreaming of non-meat meat.

As for what to call that non-meat meat, the jury is still out.