Whole Foods Introducing Vegan Grilled Chicken Made by Lightlife
Lightlife is a company on the move. First, it challenged the big two plant-based burger makers to make cleaner meat, taking out ads in major newspapers to point out that its paddies have fewer additives. Then it released an ad campaign narrated by Awkafina to encourage plant-based eating. Now the Canadian parent company Greenleaf Foods, SPC has announced that Lightlife will be the single plant-based chicken provider for Whole Foods Market. Suddenly Lightlife is on the map, at least in America.
Whole Foods will feature Lightlife's grilled, un-breaded, whole-muscle, vegan chicken in over 500 locations across North America. The new vegan chicken uses pea protein and is designed to be cooked in a diverse selection of recipes. The plant-based chicken will be included in several dishes in Whole Foods’ prepared foods sections, meaning hot bars, cold salad bars, and grab-and-go meals.
“Whole Foods is known for its high-quality, nutritious, and convenient meal options, and we are excited to partner & launch this innovation to satisfy their customers,” Chief Research, Development, and Food Technology Officer of Greenleaf Foods, SPC Jitendra Sagili, said. “This unique, versatile design is the result of collaboration with Whole Foods Market’s culinary team that has a taste, color, and pull-apart texture that delivers on chicken experience.”
The plant-based chicken product will also be available in the prepared foods section. Lightlife’s new plant-based proteins are developed to be sold alongside conventional animal-based meat products. Earlier this month, the company revealed its first breaded plant-based chicken tenders and fillets at retail stores. The alternative protein arrived on the market with the expressed purpose to be sold with conventional meat.
Lightlife aims to undercut animal agriculture and the meat industry with its new products. The partnership with Whole Foods will provide consumers with an easily accessible opportunity to try plant-based protein. Several dishes at Whole Foods will contain Lightlife’s unbreaded chicken to display the adaptability and taste of the plant-based protein.
“Chicken is the most popular animal protein in the U.S. because it can be used in a wide variety of different dishes,” Executive Chef of Greenleaf Foods, SPC Tommy McDonald said. “This product performs well in hot or cold food applications, and one of my favorite dishes is the new Whole Foods Market Classic Vegan-Chicken Salad.”
Currently, Lightlife offers more than plant-based 50 products in retail. Through Lightlife and Greenleaf’s Field Roast offshoot, the company offers plant-based foods across nearly every food category including deli meats, frozen meat, grounds, snacks, dairy, and more. The company also enhanced its product line earlier this year, simplifying its selections by removing ingredients including carrageenan, eggs, and maltodextrin to ensure the products are fully plant-based and healthy.
The recent partnership with Whole Foods ushers in a completely new category of plant-based products for the company. The unbreaded, muscled plant-based chicken enters a recently growing market. Most plant-based chicken products are breaded alternatives, but Lightlife’s new protein is specifically meant to be cooked in a variety of cuisines and recipes. The plant-based chicken will help consumers try plant-based protein by giving them a flexible alternative.
“Lightlife’s Plant-Based Chicken is a great product to add to our portfolio,” Principal Program Manager of Global Culinary Development at Whole Foods Market Chef Amy Eubanks said. “It’s super tasty and works great as an alternative for chicken. I’m looking forward to the bright future we have with Greenleaf Foods and the innovations they have on the horizon.”