Plant-based meat company Heura just introduced its new vegan chicken nuggets. The meat-free snacks are ‘kid-friendly’, the company says, and come with fewer health risks than animal-based nuggets.
Further, Heura estimates that the snacks will save more than 1.1 million lives of chickens by the end of this year.
In a press release, Heura points to a recent study from the National Library of Medicine. The study found that 18 to 33 percent of infants and toddlers consumed no servings of vegetables in a day.
Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, from 2007 to 2010, nine out of 10 children did not eat enough vegetables.
It’s research like this that motivated Heura to develop its new vegan nuggets. The product’s ingredients list is 40 percent shorter than chicken nuggets and plant-based competitors, the company says. It also contains 44 percent less saturated fat than chicken. The gluten-free nuggets are high in protein, fiber, and vitamin B12.
Heura Co-Founder and CEO Marc Coloma said in a statement: “As a mission driven company, we understand that our actions today directly impact generations to come, so kid-friendly nuggets were a natural next-step for Heura’s portfolio of chicken products.”
The startup conducted a blind taste test of the nuggets with a ‘demanding jury of children’. The participants gave the vegan nuggets ‘a score of infinity’.
Coloma continued: “The fact is, although they’re often geared towards kids, the original chicken nuggets weren’t created with the health of children in mind … Not only are we offering a healthy food solution for children, we’re creating a more sustainable world for them.”
Is chicken sustainable?
The Eating Better Alliance released a report last year that examined the sustainability of chicken production.
In 2017, poultry overtook red meat sales for the first time. It now makes up more than 50 percent of meat consumption in the UK, more than any other meat.
Feeding the birds is proving to be an issue. The report explains that 2.6kg of plant-based feed is required to produce 1kg of chicken meat. As a result, 60 percent of soy imported into the UK is used by the poultry industry. And 75 percent of the poultry industry’s emission footprint stems from feed production.
Animal cruelty in the chicken industry
Ninety-five percent of chickens in the UK are raised in intensive indoor units. These facilities have been criticized for the way they treat animals. In the UK, 16 to 19 chickens can legally be kept in one square meter of space.
The report adds: “Today’s broilers have been bred to grow so quickly that often their legs cannot properly support their bodies. As a result, many suffer
from painful leg disorders – or succumb to heart disease.”