What's new with chicken nuggets, ICYMI

It’s been a pretty heavy summer, so we’re covering a lighter topic to close out the week: chicken nugget news that you didn’t know you needed. We wrote about the growth of lab-based meat products and the soaring popularity of plant-based meat alternatives back in 2018, so we were excited to hear that KFC was pioneering lab-grown and cellularly-cultured nuggets in Russia, and that NUGGS launched an update to its popular vegan “chicken” nuggets. And then you’ve got McDonald’s making headlines by releasing a new McNugget flavor for the first time since McNuggets debuted in 1983. Read on for the details.


Starting September 16th, and for a limited time only, McDonald’s will be offering spicy chicken McNuggets along with an accompanying Mighty Hot Sauce. The nuggets have a crunchy tempura-style coating made of cayenne and chili peppers while the hot sauce contains a powerful blend of crushed red peppers and spicy chilis. This is pretty big news, as McDonald’s hasn’t introduced a new McNuggets flavor since this beloved classic arrived on menus in 1983.


NUGGS is a plant-based “chicken” nugget startup that operates more like a software company than a frozen food purveyor. The self-described “Tesla of chicken” just released NUGGS 2.0, the latest version of its nuggets, which are formulated with an advanced soy and wheat protein blend, pack more fiber and less fat than traditional nuggets, and boast a “close to indistinguishable chicken flavor.” While NUGGS was founded as a DTC operation, priding itself on delivering its product directly to consumer’s doorsteps, the company announced a retail launch earlier this year, allowing fans of the brand to find their NUGGS in 10,000 retailers across the country.


Kentucky Fried Chicken (which is no longer ‘finger-lickin’ good’ amidst concerns around the novel coronavirus pandemic) is teaming up with Russian startup 3D Bioprinting Solutions to debut lab-grown, 3D-printed nuggets at locations in Moscow this fall. KFC’s novel nuggets will be made from cultured chicken and plant cells, a first for the rather traditional chicken joint as well as for any brand in the entire fast food vertical. KFC described the nuggets as “the next step in the development of our 'restaurant of the future' concept” via a press release.