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THIS is launching plant-based chicken thighs in UK retailer Tesco

May 8, 2024

UK plant-based food company, THIS, has launched its latest product, THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs, the first UK-distributed plant-based chicken thighs on the market, available at Tesco UK-wide from 13 May.

“We’re reinventing the way people experience plant-based dining and we’re incredibly excited to share our latest product launch, THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs," commented Mark Cuddigan, CEO of THIS. "We’re on a mission to lead a revolution to change what people eat, to protect animals and the environment – and with our ridiculously delicious and nutritious plant-based food we’ve got you covered with the ultimate plant-based chicken thigh.”

The thighs are made of soya and fava bean protein, resulting in a plant-based alternative that’s both high in protein and fiber. A pack of four THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs (220g) retails at £3.80.

London-based THIS now has 14 products along with service and retail collaborations. The thighs join THIS Isn’t beef mince, and chicken wings and breasts that also launched this year.

The company teamed up with BrewDog for a limited edition Veganuary menu item earlier in the year – Europe’s first skin-on vegan chicken wings.

Presumably, the same technology used for the skin-on wings has been used for the thighs. The seaweed-based crispy skin mimics the texture and taste of traditional chicken skin.

Unlike most plant-based chicken on the market, which replicates white meat, the wings were the first product to truly replicate darker meat cuts like wings and thighs. Dark meat has a very different texture to white meat and is much more succulent and falls apart when eaten.

“About two years ago, the team had a creative session where they set aside their usual work and explored new ideas,” said Andy Shovel, Founder at THIS. “During this playdate, a scientist, unfortunately no longer with the company, discovered a method of putting the plant-based meat together [soy and pea protein are shaped into bundles of muscle fibers, inter-dispersing an olive oil-based fat], leading to the creation of this exceptional product. The [seaweed-based] skin encapsulates the entire structure, providing a realistic, crisping texture while maintaining succulence. This breakthrough has been a significant achievement in R&D, and we anticipate introducing more products using the same technology. These wings stand out for their skin-like appearance and a texture reminiscent of a traditional chicken wing – succulent, tender, and full of flavor.”

“Whole-cut animal meat products, such as chicken wings and legs, have a complex three-dimensional architecture in which protein fibers are bound together by a network of connective tissue and intramuscular fat," said Luke Byrne, R&D Director at THIS. "This structure provides juiciness and incredible texture when eaten – which we’ve now been able to mimic. Following two years worth of research and three patent pending technologies, our wings shape soy and pea protein into bundles of muscle fibers, inter-dispersing an olive oil based fat. We then coat them in a hyper-realistic chicken skin to replicate the unique structure, texture and nutritional profile of chicken.”

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