NUGGS | Vegan ‘chicken’ nuggets, development as a tech startup
NUGGS, the world’s first vegan ‘chicken’ nugget startup, launched by the 19-year-old founder Ben Pasternak announced a $7M funding round led by McCain Foods in July 2019. Money he will use to create ‘the most advanced nugget on the planet’. Founded by 19-year-old tech wunderkind and entrepreneur Ben Pasternak. NUGGS is ready to disrupt the animal-based meat industry with its new nugget technology.
A great approach to food development: the founder Ben Pasternak does release new ‘updates‘ of his NUGGS. The formula is constantly improved, based on user feedback. Ben explains: “NUGGS is the intersection of food and the internet”. Check out their Instagram account where they recently announced their 1.4 release and the release notes.
NUGGS updates | The intersection of food and the internet
NUGGS are a more advanced version of the animal-based chicken nuggets that have dominated the market for decades. After over a year of research and development, NUGGS has developed a nugget that uses an advanced texturized pea protein technology to create a nugget with the best texture, crunch and taste. Unlike any other nugget currently available, NUGGS are free from major allergens, including eggs, wheat, dairy and soy. Additionally, they have a higher protein content (22g per serving), are lower in calories (180 calories per serving) than regular chicken nuggets and are free from cholesterol and antibiotics.
NUGGS operates similar to a technology startup with Pasternak taking a unique approach to product development. Much like an app, NUGGS will release updates to the nuggets as the formula is constantly improved, based on user feedback. “NUGGS is the intersection of food and the internet”, says Pasternak, CEO and founder. “We set out to make the best nugget period, not the best clean meat nugget.”
The team behind NUGGS
Pasternak’s previous success in the tech sector includes being the youngest person to receive backing from Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists at the age of 15. After his wildly successful app Monkey was acquired in late 2017 (which currently boasts close to 20 million users), Pasternak turned his attention to helping end factory farming. He assembled a young team as passionate as he is: Head of Product is 20-year-old Liam Mullen, a self-taught molecular gastronomist who worked at Michelin Star restaurant Daniel as a pastry chef at the age of 16. 20-year old social media maven, with 6 million Instagram followers across her accounts, is Alex Michelle, Head of Growth.
NUGGS raised $7 million in funding, led by industry giant McCain Foods, who manufactures the nuggets. “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.
Other investors include Rainfall Ventures; Greylock Discovery Fund; Maven Ventures; NOMO Ventures; M Ventures; ACME Capital; Founder of MTV and CEO of iHeartMedia, Bob Pittman; Casper Founder & COO, Neil Parikh; and Former President of Tumblr, John Maloney.
To enable the startup to effectively target their most important demographic, consumers who have not yet tried animal-based meat free products, NUGGS is currently only available direct to consumer, with plans to expand to retail and food service in the near future.