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Food Policy Health Plant-Based Sustainability

Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets Are Coming To School Cafeterias Nationwide

When kids across the United States walk into their school cafeterias to start the 2019-2020 school year, many may find plant-based chicken nuggets as a brand new meal option.

Photo courtesy of Don Lee Farms

Don Lee Farms, one of the top three suppliers of protein for school lunch programs, is adding the vegan chicken substitute to its offerings. They serve most major and many small school districts in the United States, with the total they supply numbering in the thousands. Their decision to start incorporating plant-based nuggets came as both an option for sustainability and cost. “In most cases, our price for these items are at or below what chicken nuggets cost schools today,” president Donald Goodman said in a statement.

These nuggets are apparently comparable in taste and texture to real chicken nuggets, and give schools a plant-based option kids already love that is more environmentally friendly and even cheaper than meat. Given how important it is for vegan replicas to become cheaper than the real thing, the fact that a processed meat like chicken nuggets has a cheaper plant-based substitute now is monumental.

Schools will be able to purchase the plant-based nuggets to add to their cafeteria menus starting this summer.

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Fast Food Plant-Based What's New

McDonald’s Creates A Vegetarian Take On The Iconic McNugget

Following the viral buzz of their ‘McVegan‘ sandwich in 2017, McDonald’s has their latest plant-based take on a classic item for sale now in Norway.

Photo courtesy of McDonald’s

The focus of these “Vegetarnuggets” is all about the veggies, which you can see peeking through the crispy breading exterior. Produce on the inside includes chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, and onion. The breading on the outside uses ingredients like rice and semolina.

While they don’t have the exact same shapes as the McNuggets, these are the first meat-free take on a nugget we’ve seen coming out of any fast food chain. Sure, they are exclusive to Norway, but having a fast food nugget option made from vegetables would be groundbreaking in many other parts of the world.

McDonald’s Norway is refraining from calling these nuggets “vegan,” according to a representative, since they are cooked in the same fryer as other products that may contain cheese. As such, despite many current headlines suggesting the contrary, they are referred to as vegetarian nuggets.

Given how much buzz McDonald’s generates every time they create a plant-based item, though, there’s hope that these, or some version of them, could one day make it to the United States, and potentially even the rest of the world.