Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
Vegan food really is getting more and more convincing. These days, you can buy faux meat which could fool many a carnivore.
But what if we told you that you could now sample a plant-based chicken wing that came with a bone? Okay, not a real one, but a pretty darn realistic one, at that.
The product is the brainchild of Biff’s Plant Shack (owners of London takeaway joint, Biff’s Jack Shack), and they’re available to buy in Waitrose supermarkets from this Wednesday.
Essentially, ‘chicken’ wings made from jackfruit – an ingredient commonly adopted in vegan cookery to emulate the texture of meat – wrapped around a ‘bone’ made out of sugarcane, the product aims to “redefine boneless”, and is the first of its kind to hit UK shelves.
Unsurprisingly, such a novel concept has received a lot of buzz online, and whilst some shoppers are excited by the idea, others are somewhat put off.
“Is anyone else a little uncomfortable about the ‘bone’?,” said one shopper after spotting the new product announcement.
While another wrote on Twitter: “100 per cent understand calling something vegan whatever (vegan chicken, vegan steak, vegan ribs, etc) because it’s meant to approximate that food but ya’ll be doing too much.
“Shaping that shit like chicken wing and putting fake bones… is deranged behaviour.”
Speaking exclusively to Twisted, Biff Bloom-Burrows, co-founder of Biff’s, responded directly to criticism from vegans and non-vegans alike, explaining why he thought it was important to create realistic meat replacements that emulated the real thing.
“By bringing the first vegan wing with a ‘bone’ to the supermarket shelves we’re creating an authentic wing-eating experience, while pushing the boundaries of plant-based food, encouraging more people to pick an occasional vegan option when they’re doing their weekly shop,” he told us.
“Created by vegans, for plant-based eaters and flexitarians alike, we understand that the sugarcane can, at first bite, seem a little weird – especially if bones are something that always made you feel uncomfortable in a meat product.
“We want to show people that even the elements of meat that seem so intrinsic to animals can be bettered in both taste, experience and impact.”
In a public statement, the plant-based giants added: “We respect those opinions, but over time it’s an element of the dish we’ve become increasingly proud of as a way to engage with people, trigger conversations and show off what natural, plant-based ingredients can achieve.”
There’s no denying, whatever you think of these jackfruit wings, they do just that.
The wings join a bunch of other products from Biff dropping exclusively at Waitrose, including Crispy Fried Jackfruit Burgers, Chilli Cheeze Waffle Fries and Banging Bhaji Loaded Fries. There will also be a Plant Based Burger Sauce and a Maple-Lime Chipotle BBQ Sauce on offer.
You’ll be able to buy a packet of four Crispy Fried Jackfruit Wingz for £4.50 from Wednesday 6 April, across 280 Waitrose stores.