Thousands of school children in six school districts in Washington and California have a new option on the lunch menu this year, Kickin’ Nuggets. These vegan chicken nuggets are made by Rebellyous Foods, a Seattle-based startup founded by Vegetarians of Washington member, Christie Lagally. The aim of her business is to develop affordable plant-based products for the food-service sector, focusing in particular on schools and hospitals, where they can make the biggest impact.
The nuggets are made from textured wheat with corn-based breading. They qualify for two meat alternate credits under the National School Lunch Program and are nutritionally superior to animal-based nuggets since they’re lower in sodium and saturated fat and contain no cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics. They also reduce the impact on the planet from raising chickens, while saving the chickens a lot of pain and suffering in the process.
“Schools play a pivotal role in shaping children’s dietary patterns, so we are thrilled to be able to offer Rebellyous Kickin’ Nuggets to help acquaint our diners with delicious plant-based options while teaching the importance of eating a wider variety of foods,” Frank Castro, Director of Child Nutrition Services at Dublin Unified School District, said.
Let’s hope that many more school districts recognize the benefits to the children, the animals and the plant, of choosing plant-based nuggets, and they adopt the Kickin’ Nuggets more widely.
Christie Lagally, a Vegetarians of Washington member, started her career as a Boeing engineer, but she also cared passionately about avoiding animal products, so in 2017, she founded a new Seattle-based company, Rebellyous Foods. This company aims to develop delicious and affordable vegan products for the food-service sector while creating machinery that can be used by other plant-based companies to help scale their production.
Kristie Middleton, Vice President of Business Development at Rebellyous Foods at Rebellyous Foods, said: “Americans ordered 2.3 billion chicken nugget servings and 1.5 billion servings of chicken strips. The world’s largest foodservice providers have all committed to getting more plant-based options on their menus, but many foodservice operations don’t have the budget, trained staff, or equipment to cook from scratch. They need easy one-to-one replacements for their most popular options like chicken nuggets and strips. That’s where we come in.”
Over the past 3 years, Rebellyous Foods has ramped up production and been selling their nuggets to commercial food outlets such as hospitals and schools since February 2019, with clients such as Cornish College of the Arts and Swedish Medical Center. More recently the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) in Northern California partnered with Rebellyous Foods to add vegan chicken nuggets to its lunch program, and the company has just raised $6 million in investment for a production operation that can produce their plant-based nuggets in huge quantities.
But with the COVID-19 epidemic, the business of providing nuggets to cafeterias, schools and hospitals has shrunk, so the company decided to expand into providing consumer packaged goods. They have made a launch into retail in the Seattle area, with a long list of independent Seattle grocery stores now listed as places where you can purchase family packs of Rebellyous nuggets. If you’re a chicken nugget fan living in Seattle, why not give these new nuggets a try !