Panda Express is bringing back a popular menu item


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Panda Express

In the summer of 2021 popular Chinese-American channel Panda Express has teamed up with alternative meat producer Beyond Meat for a vegetable version of its popular Original Orange Chicken.

Even though Panda Express is privately owned, the chain has over 2,300 stores in the United States and countries like Canada, Mexico, and Japan. It was launched in 1983 in Glendale, California, and is now by far the largest Chinese fast food chain in the country.

Plant-Based Chicken was a limited-time promotion to test demand for alternative proteins in select markets in New York and Southern California.

As orange sauce is Panda Express’ signature and orange chicken its most popular dish, this was the obvious choice for a vegetarian alternative.

According to Panda Express, the chain cooked 1,300 pounds of meatless chicken on launch day, while many locations sold out within two weeks.

The popular plant-based option is back at Panda

Just over a year later, Panda Express announced that they were bringing the Beyond Original Orange Chicken back nationwide.

Although available at over 2,300 restaurants, this is still a limited time promotion and will sell out while supplies last.

Panda representatives will also organize pop-up stands on 10 college campuses to test demand among a group more likely to opt for plant-based products. options: Generation Z students.

“Our team was thrilled with the undeniable excitement and incredible demand generated when we first introduced Beyond The Original Orange Chicken last summer as an innovative twist on our most iconic dish. “said Andrea Cherng, Chief Brand Officer of Panda Express, in a statement.

While Panda Express already serves naturally meatless dishes like Eggplant Tofu and Super Greens, Beyond Original Orange Chicken is its main course with an alternative meat protein.

Yum! Kentucky Fried Chicken, owned by Brands, already serves items like Beyond Chicken Nuggets and Fried “Chicken”. Pizza Hut, another yum! mark, as briefly sold a pizza made with Beyond pepperoni.

Despite the competition on the market, the demand for alternatives does not weaken

Beyond Meat’s inventory is down more than 80% year-over-year, largely due to supply chain challenges and a large number of competitors entering the market.

Nestlé, Smithfield Foods and Cargill are just a few of the brands that have recently committed to increasing their alternative meat products.

The demand for more meatless products continues to grow. With both rising meat prices and growing environmental consciousness, many Western countries continue to seek to reduce meat consumption for reasons ranging from health and social awareness to finances.

According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the plant market is expected to grow to a CAGR of 19.3% and reach $24.8 billion by 2030.

The question is whether Beyond, which is currently one of the largest alternative meat producers in the world, will continue to lead this change.

The company certainly felt pressure to keep up and, alongside the partnership with Panda Express, tried to generate buzz around the brand by making socialite Kim Kardashian its face and “chief taste consultant”.

As Beyond’s stock continues to flounder, some analysts are speculate if it is it’s time to “buy the dip” with the company given the global demand for alternative meat sources or look at other companies making similar products.

“Beyond Meat has done a great job diversifying its products, but there is competition in most categories,” Brad Ginesin wrote for TheStreet’s Real Money. “Beyond Once Dominated the Plant-Based Meat Section at Whole Foods but now it’s more like the yogurt section with offers from many manufacturers. »

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This story was originally published September 7, 2022 12:07 p.m.


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