McCain foods is taking a leap of faith, by partnering with a tech-savvy plant-based chicken nuggets start-up, that will operate in similar ways to a software company.
The innovate company, NUGGS is run by a group of entrepreneurs and will issue release notes on each iteration of their plant-based nugget so food scientists and engineers can work to improve it based on consumers preference.
CEO, and founder Ben Pasternak, a 19-year-old Australian entrepreneur and tech wizard is using this unique approach in product development based on his past experience as co-founder for the social networking app Monkey.
“NUGGS is the intersection of food and the internet,” says Pasternak. “We set out to make the best nugget period, a chicken nugget simulation is just the baseline.”
NUGGS is made from a technology that uses advanced texturized pea protein to produce plant-based chicken nuggets with a similar quality, crunch, texture and taste to conventional chicken nuggets.
According to the company, the plant-based NUGGS contain 22 grams of protein and are 180 calories per serving, providing consumers with more protein and fewer calories than regular chicken nuggets. It’s also free from allergens including, eggs, wheat, dairy and soy.
McCain, who will be manufacturing the nuggets, has managed to raise $7 million in funding. The multi-national company, mostly recognized for its frozen potato products, claims their commercial and production expertise along with NUGGS customer feedback framework creates a promising future for this product to excel in the alternative food market.
“At McCain we believe NUGGS has developed an incredible product that uses plant-based technology to uniquely simulate a high-quality chicken nugget. A significant factor in achieving this is their approach to fast and iterative innovation, which is based on constant consumer feedback. We believe the combination of the NUGGS approach and McCain’s production and commercial expertise will accelerate the brand’s growth and deliver market scale,” says Mauro Pennella, Chief Growth Officer at McCain Foods.
In addition to McCain, the company has a list of other investors eager to fuel the alternative- nuggets success including Venture Capital funds, Rainfall Ventures, Greylock Discovery Fund, Maven Ventures, NOMO Ventures, M Ventures and ACME Capital.
The plant-based meat company is also receiving funding from Founder of MTV and CEO of iHeartMedia, Bob Pittman, Casper Founder & COO, Neil Parikh as well as Former President of Tumblr, John Maloney.
NUGGS has plans to expand to retailers and foodservice providers soon, but for now, is available for purchase directly through the company’s website selling for a retail price of $24 for a box of 40 nuggets. Its unique approach to customer feedback and product development could increase their success over competitors in the years to come, and create a whole new standard of customer service in the food industry.