A hyper-realistic vegan food brand has pranked influencers into promoting a fake meal delivery service and its ‘chicken’ pieces as real meat when they are made from peas and soybeans.
Instagram influencers were sent packages from UK company, THIS™, claiming to be a new recipe box service called ‘Surprise’ that delivers different surprise recipes to your door, and THIS fabricated a Surprise website and Instagram account.
The boxes contained instructions and ingredients to cook up a gourmet chicken and bean stir fry. However, the pranksters included a pouch of ‘chicken’, which was actually marinated vegan THIS™ Isn’t Chicken pieces whilst the other ‘gourmet’ ingredients were from Iceland supermarket.
Adding some light-heartedness to lockdown, THIS™, founded by two mates who used to run a burger restaurant together, documented the prank in a video posted on its YouTube and Instagram, where over 15 carnivore influencers were asked to cook the meal and share their reviews on Instagram.
Matty Ducker who has 176k followers said: “The chicken is f***ing mad, it’s unreal!” whilst lifestyle influencer, Jamie Dear, said: “That was a delicious piece of chicken, oh my gosh, amazing…YUM!”
“It’s so tender” raved fashion influencer, Daniella Milan, whilst Libby Kate, a Pretty Little Thing ambassador, praised the great taste and told her 40.3k followers she’s “really fussy when it comes to chicken, you just don’t know where it comes from sometimes.”
The influencers, who posted to over half a million followers collectively, were left stunned and embarrassed once it was revealed the chicken they were promoting was meat-free and the recipe box service didn’t exist.
“That has shaken me up…what?!” said Jamie Dear, and Dylan Bola who describes himself as a Millenial Creator, said: “My family who are meat-eaters through and through had no idea… that’s insane.”
A Personal Trainer and Nike ambassador, Tiago Silva, said: “In terms of taste, that is something that would easily replace my chicken.”
Andy Shovel, Co-Founder of THIS™ comments: “We were playing with fire, making potential enemies out of influencers. Luckily though, they took it on the chin. We just can’t help but make these prank videos, as we feel like our plant-based meats are the first on the market that can truly fool people and we like to have a laugh. More to come!”
The prank comes as THIS™ launched with real meal delivery service, Gousto this month, and Veganuary reports a record 560,000 participants this year as it enters its final week.
Influencers were sent THIS™ isn’t Chicken Salt & Pepper pieces (22.7g protein per 100g), available to buy at Sainsbury’s ASDA, Tesco, Waitrose and Ocado, RRP £3.65.