Below is our recent interview with Brian Pope, Co-Founder and CEO at CHKN Not Chicken:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
A: CHKN Not Chicken is a delicious plant-based, chicken alternative that makes it easy to eat less meat, live healthier, and be kinder to the planet. We are based in Portland, Oregon and are on a mission to help people improve their health and live more sustainably by eating less meat. CHKN Not Chicken is vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, packed with 20 grams of protein per 8 oz serving and has only 140 calories.
Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?
A: CHKN Not Chicken just announced a $4.5M Series A round of funding led by Stray Dog Capital. We are also proud to have David Israel founder and CEO of Good Planet Foods as one of our investors and advisors. The company will leverage the financing to launch its product assortment into grocery retailers across the U.S. and expand partnerships with Quick Serve and Casual Dining restaurants to bring customized, healthy plant-based chicken products to the food service channel. This launch is the culmination of two years of research and development of its proprietary extrusion, flavor-infusion, and enrobing technology that allows CHKN Not Chicken to replicate the juiciness, texture, and flavor of chicken.
Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?
A: We are designing products that will inspire meat-eaters to become Flexitarians and incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet. CHKN Not Chicken is based on pea protein which is the perfect platform to achieve the taste and texture of chicken with ingredients you can pronounce, while also being soy-free and gluten-free. Our first product line of Shredded CHKN comes in three delicious varieties: Naked CHKN (traditional chicken flavor that can be seasoned however you would season a chicken breast), Fiesta CHKN (pre-seasoned with Mexican spices and citrus), and Zen (pre-seasoned with Asian spices and ginger). CHKN Not Chicken is incredibly versatile and can be used as an alternative to chicken in all of your favorite recipes including stir fry, tacos, sandwiches, rice bowls, pizza, salads, soups, pastas, and more. CHKN
Q: What can we expect from your company in the next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: You can expect CHKN Not Chicken to be broadly available across natural and specialty retailers across the west coast and to appear in menu items from a range of restaurants and available nationally online at CHKNnotChicken.com and other e-commerce sites. We will also be busy creating innovative ways for consumers to try our products. The proof will definitely be in the tasting! By creating delicious food that also happens to be plant-based, we believe we can dramatically increase the number of Flexitarians in the world who are becoming more mindful of the foods they eat and are looking for options that allow them to create delicious meat-free versions of their favorite recipes.
Finally, our R&D team is continuing to innovate and we hope to bring additional forms of CHKN Not Chicken, including CHKN breast and tenders, in the near future as well as other plant-based proteins including PORK Not Pork and TRKY Not Turkey.
Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?
A: CHKN not Chicken was founded by 3 friends, Marc Marano, Ryan Choi, and Brian Pope who each had decided for a range of reasons that we wanted to reduce the amount of meat in our diets. But we didn’t love the options that were out there. Beyond and Impossible had done amazing things for ground beef replacement but other proteins including chicken just didn’t deliver. We felt there had to be a better solution so we set out create one that we would be excited about eating. We each fundamentally believe that reducing the amount of meat we eat is the most impactful thing we can do for both humans and the planet. Small changes in diet, such as going plant-based a couple of days a week can have a profound impact on our individual health and empowering a large part of the world to eat less meat will have a profound cumulative impact on our environment.