USA – Maker of potato specialties and appetizers, McCain Foods has invested in New-York based chicken nuggets startup, Nuggs as it looks to strengthen its position in plant-based solutions.

Nuggs, co-founded by 19-year old Australian tech savvy and entrepreneur Ben Pasternak brings its new nugget technology to which has developed an innovative plant-based chicken nugget alternative.

The company has raised US$7 million in a funding round led by McCain, officially launching its product Nuggs, a more advanced version of the animal-based chicken nuggets.

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.

“At McCain we believe NUGGS has developed an incredible product that uses plant-based technology to uniquely simulate a high-quality chicken nugget,” said Mauro Pennella, Chief Growth Officer at McCain Foods.

“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.”

Nuggs’ technology that uses an advanced texturized pea protein technology to create a nugget with the best texture, crunch and taste.

The product is free from major allergens, including eggs, wheat, dairy and soy; has a higher protein content (22g per serving) and is lower in calories (180 calories per serving).

As opposed to regular chicken nuggets, they are also free from cholesterol and antibiotics.

“NUGGS is the intersection of food and the internet,” said Pasternak, CEO and founder.

“We set out to make the best nugget period, a chicken nugget simulation is just the baseline.”

The partnership combines NUGGS pioneering textured pea protein technology and breakthrough research & development process with McCain’s production and commercial expertise to accelerate the brand’s growth and deliver market scale.

McCain said the investment is aligned to its long-term sustainability priorities in the food industry.