Tyson's announcement comes just over a week after Nestle entered the plant-based meat market.
Startups like Beyond Meat, which makes burgers and sausages from pea protein, and Impossible Foods, which has a soy-based formula, have also raised consumers' interest with products that mimic meat so closely in taste and texture that they're being sold at Burger King and Carl's Jr.
Competition is ramping up in plant-based protein.
The change comes as many companies are trying to carve out a space in the USA alternative meat market which analysts estimate to be worth $100 billion by 2035. Tyson said it plans to roll out other protein alternatives in the future.
But one early investor has missed out on the success of Beyond's market debut: Tyson.
Beyond does not now offer any plant-based chicken products, but the company is working on a new and improved version of its chicken strips, which it pulled from grocery store shelves earlier this year. US sales of meat substitutes are expected to jump 78% to $2.5 billion between 2018 and 2023, according to Euromonitor.
The latest venture from Tyson Foods was teased by the company since the beginning of this year. The Raised & Rooted blended burger will be made with Angus beef and pea protein, and will have less saturated fat and fewer calories than other plant-based burgers, the company said.
Tyson has been watching the alternative protein market for a while.
Vegan ground beef and burger patties by Canadian packaged meat producer Maple Leaf Foods Inc, sold under its LightLife brand, will be on US store shelves this summer. While the impact of a plant-based food boom works itself out, we'll take another 10-piece.
Tyson Foods expects to introduce additional alternative protein products through multiple customers and sales channels. Last week, the Swiss food giant said it plans to launch its Sweet Earth brand Awesome Burger in the USA this fall. On Wednesday, the company launched a line of chicken nuggets, tenders, and patties that are blended with vegetables.
But Whitmore didn't express concern about competitors, saying Tyson's speed, scale and distribution expertise - as well as its 84-year history - puts it ahead of companies who have been in the plant-based market for longer.
USA meat processor Tyson Foods Inc on Thursday launched its first vegetarian and mixed-protein products, including a beef and pea burger, as it seeks to compete with Beyond Meat and other companies catering to rising demand for plant-based alternatives to meat.