McCain Invests in New York-Based Vegan Startup NUGGS; Helps Close $7M Deal

by | July 13, 2019

The world’s largest potato snack maker, McCain Foods, has recently and strategically, invested in a New York-based hi-tech vegan startup called NUGGS. The company develops vegan chicken nuggets using pea protein. This partnership also led NUGGS to close a $7Million investment deal. What is NUGGS? Know more here.

Vegan Startup Garners $7 Million in Investments; Backed by McCain Foods
Credit: @benpasternak/ Twitter

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Vegan Startup Garners $7 Million in Investments; Backed by McCain Foods

McCain Foods, the world’s largest maker of potato-based frozen items, are known for their plethora of snacks such as french fries and smiley crispy fries. Now, they’ve strategically advanced into the meat-alternative market through a plant-based nugget startup in New York called NUGGS, FoodNavigator reports.

According to the report, the partnership empowers NUGGS‘ already great R&D and textured pea protein technology with the commercial expertise and production capacity of McCain Foods. This is intended to accelerate the vegan startup’s’ brand growth. Currently, the company sells its product directly to consumers via its website. Plans are to extend their footprint into the retail market in the near future.

A Nugget Influenced by Software?

“NUGGS operates like a software company. NUGGS are continuously updated by our team of food scientists and engineers in NYC,” the company writes on their website. This is apparently the reflection of the brains behind the company – a 19-year-old tech entrepreneur, Ben Pasternak. At the age of 15, he developed a high-tech video chat app called Monkey, and it was reportedly sold in 2017. This then leads him to focus on NUGGS, where he clearly retained his love for software. Each and every new iteration of NUGGS’ offering is launched using release notes; just like a software version.

Vegan Startup Garners $7 Million in Investments; Backed by McCain Foods

For instance, the latest NUGGS 1.3.1 comes with renewed baking instructions for a firmer texture. Sounds awesome right?

The $7 Million Deal

Regarding the collaboration, McCain’s Chief Growth Officer, Mauro Pennella, told FoodNavigator: “NUGGS is an incredible product in itself and a very tasty chicken nugget simulation.”

“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,”  she added.

Credit: @benpasternak/ Twitter

The company in their recent round of investments led by McCain Foods has raised $7 million. Among the supporters on this round were Rainfall Ventures, Maven Ventures, Greylock Discovery Fund, Bob Pittman (founder of MTV and CEO of iHeartMedia), Founder and COO of Casper Neil Parikh, and John Maloney, former president of Tumbler.

NUGGS claims their mock chicken nuggets contain 20% lesser calories and as much protein as animal-based chicken nuggets. A box of 40 NUGGS costs $24, whereas 80 NUGGS costs $29 – entailing $3.57 and $2.14 per meal respectively.

How do you feel about the new partnership? Let me know your thoughts in comments.

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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]



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