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Noodles & Company rolls out plant-based Panko Chicken option

The Impossible Foods product is also featured in two new dishes following a successful market test earlier this year.
LEANguini Rosa
LEANguini Rosa with Impossible Panko Chicken./ Photo courtesy of Noodles & Co.

Noodles & Company on Tuesday rolled out a plant-based Panko Chicken protein option nationally, as well as two new dishes using the animal-free product.

The Broomfield, Colo.-based chain conducted market tests of the plant-based chicken by Impossible Foods earlier this year and it apparently was a hit—guests said it tastes like chicken, said Stacey Pool, Noodles’ chief marketing officer.

“After testing Impossible Chicken in several markets this past spring, we received overwhelming feedback that Impossible tastes just like chicken. This positive feedback coupled with Impossible’s values and commitment to the environment made them a great partner for us and I feel confident guests will love this uncommonly good addition to our menu,” she said in a statement.

The alternative protein will be available nationwide to add to any dish.

In addition, Noodles is rolling out two new dishes: Impossible Orange Chicken Lo Mein, one of the dishes tested, which includes Asian-style noodles sauteed in orange sauce with snap peas, napa and red cabbage, green onions, black sesame seeds and cilantro, topped with the Panko chicken; and LEANguini Rosa with Impossible Chicken, which includes spicy tomato cream sauce, Roma tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.

Plant-based alternatives are increasingly becoming a standard option on chain restaurant menus, despite mixed signals about consumer demand for non-meat options.

A recent report from research firm Deloitte indicated consumer enthusiasm may be waning as the glut of plant-based products on the market grows, though the survey blamed the higher cost of plant-based products, concerns about health benefits and the audience reaching a potential saturation point.

Last week, Impossible Foods competitor Beyond Meat announced plans to cut its workforce by nearly 20%. Impossible Foods also reportedly announced plans to lay off 6% of its workforce earlier this month amid restructuring efforts.

Yet there are a growing number of entirely-plant-based fast-casual and quick-service concepts with ambitious expansion plans across the country, including Project Pollo, Next Burger, Plant Power, Earth Burger, Stand-Up Burgers, PLNT Burger and Hart House.

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