I tested Europe’s first ‘skin-on’ VEGAN wings – and they taste even better than the real


Vegan imitations of popular meats are coming thick and fast to the market, and the UK has just got a completely new entry – ‘skin-on’ plant-based wings.  

Made by London firm ‘This’, the wings are being served in BrewDog bars throughout ‘Veganuary’.

The fake ‘flesh’ is made from soy and pea protein with the addition of olive oil to make them as juicy and succulent as real chicken. 

Meanwhile, the exterior is made of seaweed to replicate the delectable crispiness of the bird’s deep-fried skin.

But how do they actually taste? MailOnline finds out. 

Made by London firm 'This', the wings are being served in BrewDog bars throughout 'Veganuary'

Made by London firm ‘This’, the wings are being served in BrewDog bars throughout ‘Veganuary’ 

From the outside, they look just like proper deep fried chicken - deep brown and glistening with moisture

From the outside, they look just like proper deep fried chicken – deep brown and glistening with moisture

‘This’ is already responsible for numerous plant-based meat substitutes like sausages, streaky bacon and beef mince that you may have seen in the supermarkets. 

It says these skin-on wings are the first to be released in Europe.  

Unlike most plant based ‘chicken’ on the market that replicates white meat, this is the first product to replicate darker meat cuts like wings and thighs, according to the firm. 

Generally, dark meat has a different texture and a deeper flavour compared with white meat and falls apart more easily in the mouth. 

But replicating chicken wing meat has involved two years of work at This, as well as three secretive patent-pending technologies. 

‘Chicken wings and legs have a complex three-dimensional architecture in which protein fibres are bound together by a network of connective tissue and intramuscular fat,’ said Luke Byrne, R&D director at This. 

‘This structure provides juiciness and incredible texture when eaten – which we’ve now been able to mimic.

‘Our wings shape soy and pea protein into bundles of muscle fibres, inter-dispersing an olive oil based fat. 

Unlike most plant-based 'chicken' on the market, which replicates white meat, this is the first product to replicate darker meat cuts like wings and thighs

Unlike most plant-based ‘chicken’ on the market, which replicates white meat, this is the first product to replicate darker meat cuts like wings and thighs

The fake 'flesh' is made from soy and pea protein with the addition of olive oil to make them juicy and succulent

The fake ‘flesh’ is made from soy and pea protein with the addition of olive oil to make them juicy and succulent 

‘We then coat them in a hyper-realistic chicken skin to replicate the unique structure, texture and nutritional profile of chicken.’ 

BrewDog is selling each wing for 25p this month, which means I can get a decent dinner-sized portion of 12 for just £3. 

This is undoubtedly a bargain, although the bulk of BrewDog’s revenue comes from its swanky boutique beers, many of which cost more than £7 a pint. 

The wings come smothered in sauce (I opt for Korean BBQ) which makes my hands a sticky mess, but such is the way with any decent wings experience. 

From the outside, they look just like proper deep fried chicken – deep brown and glistening with fat. 

Even though they contain no bones, This has carefully crafted the wings so that they form a perfect limb shape.  

Biting into one, the exterior is delightfully salty and crisp, while the ‘flesh’ is creamy and moist and somehow separated into fibre strands, much like the real thing. 

Unlike any other vegan product I’ve tried, I can’t taste a single hint of the substitute protein that’s been used – in this case pea and soy. 

Admittedly what really make them so yummy is the sauce, but can’t the same be said for real chicken wings? 

The fake 'flesh' is creamy and moist and seems to be somehow separated into fibre strands, much like the real thing

The fake ‘flesh’ is creamy and moist and seems to be somehow separated into fibre strands, much like the real thing

To be totally honest, I like these even more than the real thing. 

Despite being a meat eater, genuine wings usually disappoint me – the skin is rubbery and there’s not enough meat to enjoy on the bones. 

By the end of it I’m confronted with a plate of mangled carcass – a depressing reminder of a former life – and I’m always left thinking, ‘Was this all really worth it?’

With the plant-based wings, I can put a whole wing in my mouth in one go and chomp away without having to worry about any bones, or any ethical considerations.

What’s more, they’re ‘low in saturated fat, high in protein and a source of fibre’, according to This – although I fear the salt content could be rather high like other vegan imitation foods.

Even though I’m not bothering with Veganuary, I’ll be heading back to BrewDog before the month’s end for another round of 25p ‘wings’.

But I might have to save up my money until February if I want to afford a round of BrewDog beers.

Switching to plant-based meat can help the environment, experts say

According to scientists, switching to plant-based products that mimic real meat can help the planet. 

Livestock farming at the current rate hurt the environment in a number of different ways.

Cows, pigs and other farm animals release huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming.

Raising livestock also means converting forests into agricultural land, meaning CO2-absorbing trees are being cut down, further adding to climate change.  

Juicy Marbles is just one firm creating plant-based vegan products, which are increasingly taking space on the supermarket shelves

Juicy Marbles is just one firm creating plant-based vegan products, which are increasingly taking space on the supermarket shelves  

Factory farms and crop growing also requires massive amounts of water, with 542 litres of water being used to produce just a single chicken breast.

As well as this, the nitrogen-based fertiliser used on crops adds to nitrous oxide emissions. 

Nitrous oxide is around 300 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

These fertilisers can also end up in rivers, further adding to pollution. 

Scientists have recently suggested that bringing plant-based meat to public institutions such as schools and prisons can help trigger a wider transition amongst the general public. 

‘Favouring alternative proteins in public procurement policies globally could help to bring forward tipping points in their adoption,’ they say in a report. 

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