Are Nuggs Vegan? Or Vegetarian?

Nuggs is a chicken nugget simulation that uses a new texturized soy protein technology to create a product equivalent to an animal-based chicken nugget. 

The recipe seems to frequently change based on consumer-driven iterations to bring them as close to the flavor and texture of chicken nuggets, so whilst they have used pea protein in the past, it seems that they’re now using a combination of wheat and soy protein. 

But even though the Nuggs have changed over time, have they stopped being vegan? Well, Nuggs was created as a completely cruelty-free alternative to meat, which means they don’t contain ANY animal ingredients and are therefore suitable for those following a vegan diet. 

What Are Nuggs Made Of? 

nuggs

As I’ve mentioned, in order to perfect their flavor and texture by making them as close as possible to real chicken nuggets, Simulate (the company behind Nuggs) does work alongside consumers to adjust the recipe. 

At the moment this is being written, the ingredients in the Nuggs are the following:

Water, Soybean Oil, Textured Wheat Protein, Soy Protein Concentrate, Breadcrumbs (Enriched Wheat Flour [Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Sugar, Rice Flour, Yeast, Salt, Extractives Of Paprika), Enriched Wheat Flour, Corn Flour, Wheat Protein Isolate, Yeast Extract, Modified Food Starch, Corn Starch, Tapioca Dextrin, Sunflower Oil, Potato Starch, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Black Pepper, Red Pepper, Paprika, Dextrose, and Natural Flavors.

Nuggs contain tons of processed ingredients, or in other words, ingredients that could be detrimental to your health, which is why Nuggs shouldn’t be consumed in excess. Whilst they are an exceptional alternative to chicken nuggets, this is not a product that you want to be consuming all the time.

With that being said, Nuggs do not contain a single animal ingredient. Some people might raise an eyebrow at the fact it contains ‘natural flavors’, but those are surely derived from a plant-based source. 

Why Are “Seen” Natural Flavors As Controversial?

“Natural flavors” is essentially a term used to describe natural ingredients that are used for flavoring purposes. Some of these ingredients are vegan, and some are not.

Certain brands hide non-vegan ingredients under the “natural flavors” umbrella and hide the fact their products are not vegan or vegetarian.

Here is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) definition of “natural flavors”:

“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

In other words, natural flavors can be anything approved for use in food. However, it’s impossible to tell what’s in natural flavors unless a company specifies it on the label, and companies have to do that when it comes to major allergens such as dairy, eggs, or even wheat. 

With that being said, I don’t think Nuggs contain any hidden animal ingredients, and that would be counter-productive because of the audience they’re targeting. 

Where To Buy Nuggs

Nuggs are available at several popular retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and Target. You can also find them selling on their official website called “Simulate”. 

If you head to Walmart or Target, the best way to find Nuggs is in their frozen section, where you might also find other alt-meat competitors such as Quorn or Morning Star. 

Conclusion

Fortunately, Nuggs does not have any animal ingredients so it’s suitable for vegans.

The goal of the brand is to create a cruelty-free alternative to meat, and naturally includes the avoidance of any and all ingredients that derive from animal exploitation. 

With that being said, I still have to say that like most alt-meat alternatives, Nuggs are not a healthy product and should only be consumed from time to time. It contains numerous processed ingredients, which is often a bad sign in any product.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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