Panda Express partners Beyond Meat to launch its first vegan orange chicken – Totally Vegan Buzz

Panda Express partners Beyond Meat to launch its first vegan orange chicken

Panda Express partners Beyond Meat to launch its first vegan orange chicken
Image: Beyond Meat

“Beyond The Original Orange Chicken is the next step to offer more diverse and plant-based options, while still delivering comfort and crave-ability in innovative ways.”

Panda Express is launching its first vegan orange chicken at select locations in the greater New York City and Los Angeles areas.

The move will also make it the first national Asian American restaurant concept to serve Beyond Meat.

Called Beyond the Original Orange Chicken, the vegan version of its world-famous dish features crispy plant-based Beyond Chicken wok-tossed in Panda’s “signature sweet and tangy The Original Orange Chicken sauce.”

Plant-based options at Panda

Chef Jimmy Wang is the Executive Director of Culinary Innovation at Panda Express. He said:  “As the creator of The Original Orange Chicken, Panda has significant brand equity in this staple American Chinese comfort food.

“We know guests’ tastes and preferences have evolved and look to us for variety.

“Beyond The Original Orange Chicken is the next step in the brand’s journey to offer more diverse and plant-based options, while still delivering comfort and crave-ability in innovative ways.”

He added: “Creating a fresh new take on a classic favourite is a great and accessible way to introduce plant-based proteins to our guests and perhaps even draw a new audience for Panda.”

National rollout

The latest innovation will be available from 26 July for a limited time while supplies last. According to the American fast-food restaurant, the test drive will help strategize a wider launch.

 “With this regional launch, we’re gathering insights and learning how we can improve the guest experience with this brand-new product for a wider future rollout,” Wang told VegNews.

“We are confident that people will love the new menu item.”

Other plant-based dishes on Panda’s menu include eggplant tofu, chow mein and vegetable spring rolls.

Beyond Meat

The partnership follows Beyond Meat rolling out its vegan chicken tenders in 400 locations across the US.

This also isn’t the first time Beyond Meat has teamed up with quick-service restaurants to create a bespoke chicken menu item.

It first tested chicken substitutes with Yum Brands’ KFC in 2019.

The trial proved so successful, that it sold out of the vegan chicken in less than five hours. KFC later rolled out the item to more than 50 locations in Southern California by July 2020.

The vegan chicken is now discontinued at the test locations and customers will have to wait till KFC announces the official launch date for the Beyond Fried Chicken.

Meanwhile, last month, KFC China partnered with Beyond Meat to roll out a Plant-Based Spicy Beef Wrap. It features vegan beef, a soft tortilla wrap, salad, and egg-based mayonnaise.

Ivy Xu, Brand & PR Director of Beyond Meat China, said: “We are honoured to be KFC China’s chosen partner to introduce the first plant-based meat version of the Spicy Beef Wrap, one of their most iconic and popular menu offerings to consumers.”

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