The ‘Tesla of chicken nuggets’ is using memes to stand out in the race to replace meat

The startup behind the “Tesla of chicken nuggets” is mastering faux meat and memes.


August 25, 2020

As the world looks for more sustainable protein sources, funding in the alt-meat space has surged.

Through July of this year alone, alt-meat startups have raised $1B+, more than double last year’s haul.

One fast riser: SIMULATE — the startup behind plant-based NUGGS (AKA the “Tesla of chicken nuggets” 😂), has raised $11m+ from investors including frozen food giant McCain Foods.

It’s creating hype like a streetwear brand

The nutrition tech startup recently did a “drop” of Spicy NUGGS, which sold out 1k boxes in 16 minutes and led to a hilarious Instagram exchange with supermodel Bella Hadid.

Another meme-tastic move includes release notes (like software updates) for each new product improvement (i.e., “increased fiber”).

And its pricing page gives options of 2 lbs. ($34.99), 4 lbs. ($44.99) and 420 lbs. (“you don’t need this” LOL).

Nuggets are only the beginning

Like Hadid (we’re basically spirit animals), The Hustle had some fun with the NUGGS social team: we did a chicken nugget taste test vs. McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

We also caught up with SIMULATE’s 20-year-old founder Ben Pasternak, who told us what’s next for his hot startup: hot dogs (DOGGS) and chicken tenders.

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