Tyson Is Riding The Air Fryer Trend With Its New Chicken Bites

The trend for air frying has reached such ubiquity that Tyson is using it to appeal to customers. Recently, the brand introduced Air Fried Chicken Bites. "Americans today want better-for-you versions of comfort foods, and Tyson Brand is meeting this trend by launching chicken bites in Spicy and Parmesan flavors that have been prepared in an air fryer," the company proclaimed in a press release issued earlier this week (via PR Newswire). The two flavors come in 20-ounce packages.

Previously, Tyson tried to capitalize on the air fryer trend with the release of air-fried chicken breast fillets, chicken breast strips, and chicken nuggets (via a 2019 press release). The company touted this trio of products as the "best thing to happen to fried chicken ... since fried chicken." This apparently went well for the company, as Senior Brand Manager Lauren Talbert explained when discussing the launch of the new flavored chicken bites: "Fried chicken lovers – and let's face it, that's all of us – were delighted by the launch of our Air Fried products in 2019 so we're excited to give them more of what they want by extending our Air Fried line of products." 

Air Fried Chicken Bites might appeal to some consumers but not others

Tyson really places emphasis on the nutritional advantages of these Air Fried Chicken Bites. The Parmesan Chicken Bites have 14 grams of protein while the Spicy Chicken Bites boast 13 grams (via PR Newswire). Moreover, these snacks have 75% less fat and 35% fewer calories than fast-food fried chicken. 

Registered dietitian nutritionist Bansari Acharya explained to HuffPost that air frying "preserves the nutrients in the food items, as it doesn't expose it to hot oils. It also reduces the amount of trans and saturated fats in foods, reducing the risk for heart disease." However, BBC Good Food cautions that air-fried food is still technically fried food, and it should be treated as such. In other words, it's a healthier alternative, but it is not as healthy as reducing the amount of fried food a person eats.

Of course, the Air Fried Chicken Bites are playing to an audience that wants air-fried chicken. Whether people will enjoy this particular air-fried chicken is another matter. On Facebook, one person said that the concept sounded like a "knockout." Reviews for Spicy Chicken Bites on Tyson's website, however, have been mixed so far. One person thought they were amazing while another thought, "These were nasty. These were nasty. These were nasty." A third complained that the pieces didn't come in a uniform size, meaning that they didn't cook evenly. Taste, after all, is quite subjective.