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McCain Foods invests in plant-based nugget start-up NUGGS

By Elaine Watson contact

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McCain Foods invests in plant-based nugget start-up NUGGS

Related tags: Mccain foods, plant-based

Potato products giant McCain Foods has dipped its toes into the plant-based protein arena via a strategic partnership and lead investment in New York-based start-up NUGGS, which has developed a plant-based nugget using pea protein.

The partnership combines NUGGS'​ textured pea protein technology and R&D process​ with McCain’s production and commercial expertise to accelerate the brand’s growth and deliver market scale (right now the brand is sold direct to consumer via the NUGGS website​, with plans to expand to retail and foodservice in the near future).

“NUGGS is an incredible product in itself and a very tasty chicken nugget simulation. Furthermore, the NUGGS teams approach to fast, iterative innovation, based on constant consumer feedback is a great way to create products people love”, ​said Mauro Pennella, chief growth officer at McCain Foods.

NUGGS​ nuggets contain almost twice as much protein and 20% fewer calories than chicken nuggets, claims the company, which has just raised $7m in a round led by McCain Foods and supported by Rainfall Ventures, Greylock Discovery Fund, Maven Ventures, NOMO Ventures, M Ventures, ACME Capital, the founder of MTV and CEO of iHeartMedia, Bob Pittman; Casper founder & COO, Neil Parikh, and the former president of Tumblr, John Maloney.

The brainchild of teen tech entrepreneur Ben Pasternak - who developed a high-profile video chat app called Monkey and sold it to HOLLA in 2017 - NUGGS "operates like a software company,"​ and has adopted a similar approach to Soylent, issuing 'release notes​' on each new iteration of its nuggets.

2019-07-09 11_01_08-NUGGS – DON’T BE CHICKEN

Ingredients list NUGGS v1.3: ​ Water, pea protein, corn starch, pea starch, vegetable oil, yellow corn flour, yeast extract, sodium pyrophosphate, monosodium glutamate, titanium dioxide, dextrose, spices, salt, carrageenan, garlic powder, onion powder, baking soda, methylcellulose, paprika.

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