What a time to be alive! The plant-based meat industry is booming with new products popping up in grocery stores, restaurants, and kitchens all around the world! Vegan meats are delicious and way better for your health and the planet than animal meat, but they often contain a long list of ingredients we just don’t need. The OG, plant-based chicken nuggets out there will always be near and dear to my vegan heart, but it’s time level up!
For this month’s Ethical Business Spotlight, I’m thrilled to feature the next generation of plant-based chicken nuggets: Nowadays!
With Nowadays, you don’t have to choose between enjoying a mouthwatering snack and clean, healthy ingredients. As their tagline says, “Nowadays, it’s easy to indulge better.“ Let’s jump right in!
Meet the Founders:
Nowaday’s founders Max Elder and Dominik Grabinkski have a combined three and a half decades of experience in the food industry.
Max Elder is a food systems expert and experienced consultant who has spent his career passionately advocating for food that nourishes both people and the planet. Max advised groups such as Nestlé, General Mills, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Nutrition Program during his time at the Institute for the Future.
Dominik is an agricultural engineer and father of two. He has worked in senior positions at some of the largest agricultural food ingredient companies, including Cargill and DSM.
The two met through their joint work in the alt-protein space in the Bay Area and joined forces to launch Nowadays, a new public benefit corporation that produces plant-based meats with only a few simple ingredients and an unparalleled nutritional profile.
Get to know Nowadays!
What is the inspiration and mission behind Nowadays?
Nowadays started with a craving. A craving for tastier, better-for-you comfort foods. A craving to do better for the planet and all who live on it. Nowadays, we know better is possible. That’s why we are reinventing classic favorites with simple, limited-ingredient and wholesome plant-based ingredients that the whole family can enjoy. Life is complicated enough, we believe eating well should be simple.
Many plant-based nuggets on the market contain a long list of ingredients including sugars, additives, and preservatives. Your nuggets break the mold with just a few natural ingredients. How long did it take to create your delicious nuggets and how were the ingredients chosen?
It took about a year to develop the Nowadays nugget, which is already in it’s second version since launching in May 2021.
Each ingredient was thoughtfully selected with your health and that of the planet in mind. Our flagship protein is non-GM, organic yellow peas that are sustainably grown here in the US — compared to raising chicken for meat, peas release 10x less CO2, use 1.3x less land, and require 3.6x less water. For an egg replacement, we chose maple fiber. Red maple trees are one of the most abundant hardwood trees in America, so in addition to being a perfect egg substitute they are an excellent source of sustainable fiber.
One thing we consistently noticed with many other fried chicken options—conventional and plant-based—was exceptionally high sodium content. Keeping sodium low was a top priority for us, so we chose to utilize mushroom and yeast extract to create a delicious savory, umami “chicken” flavor without the need for lots of added salt.
What was the biggest challenge and biggest surprise while developing your nuggets?
While we love pea protein for its versatility, texture, and climate benefits, our process of turning pea protein into nuggets was incredibly challenging. So challenging, in fact, that we’re in the process of patenting it.
In hindsight, perhaps not that surprising, but what we learned really quickly bringing these nuggets to market is that personal preferences for nuggets are strong and vastly different. So much so that we’ve now updated our cooking times to ranges in order to satisfy customers’ preferences between juicy and crispy! How about you? Are you team juicy or team crispy?
What are your top 3 favorite ways to enjoy Nowadays Original Nuggets?
Fresh out of the air fryer with a little side of ketchup. Boring, we know, but they’re that good.
Mixed in our amazing Chicken & Waffles recipe – go big (for breakfast) or go home.
Chopped up on a salad. Easy, fresh, and a feel-good protein that pairs well with every single salad dressing. We’ve tried them all.
What’s next for Nowadays?
Right now, we’re focused on making sure that our nuggets are absolutely the best alt-meat nuggets on the market. BUT we’re also excited to expand the Nowadays family. Stay tuned for some exciting new releases this year!
We also get requests everyday from people across the country wanting to buy our nuggets online, so we’re working hard to ship nationwide soon as well.
To try your very first box of Nowadays original nuggets, use code VEGANTREASUREHUNTER to get 25% off!