19-year-old founder of newest plant-based meat, NUGGS
NEW YORK — NUGGS, the “chicken” nugget start-up, announced its official launch. Founded by 19-year-old tech wunderkind and entrepreneur Ben Pasternak, NUGGS will disrupt the animal-based meat industry with its new nugget technology.
NUGGS is an 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) and 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 start-up 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 on based on user feedback.
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. Twenty-year-old social media maven Alex Michelle, with six million Instagram followers across her accounts, is 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.