My daughter is roughly 28 percent chicken nugget. It's one of her favorite foods, and it's one that we can reliably get her to eat. For a picky eater, that's no small feat, but getting her to eat veggies is impossible. That's why I'm excited to hear about Perdue Plus chicken nuggets that provide hungry kids with one quarter of a cup of vegetables per serving. I mean, if it weren't for nuggets and spicy ranch, I don't know if my kid would eat. But now I know she can eat her faves and get some extra nutrients.
The new Chicken+ product line from Perdue includes dino nuggets, chicken tenders, and chicken sandwich patties, and all of them are made with chicken, cauliflower, and chickpeas, breaded in panko bread crumbs, and served fried or baked. These new super nuggs are made with all white meat, all natural, and antibiotic-free ingredients. They will be available in 22-ounce bags, retailing for $7, and available in stores across the United States in September.
The chicken brand noted that these new Perdue chicken nuggets, though made with vegetables, will taste very similar and have a similar texture to traditional nuggets. This seems pretty plausible, given the way they're made and breaded — which is a comfort to parents whose kids are picky about foods that taste or feel "different." Although, with the amount of Trader Joe's sriracha ranch that my children use when eating their nuggets, I don't think they would notice even a huge change provided they were still vaguely nuggetish.
Plant-heavy products are the way of the future. Cutting down meat consumption and increasing our reliance on plant protein is not only healthy, but better for the environment. Perdue is aware of this, and this new line of products reflects that. In a press release, Alison Rabschnuk, director of corporate engagement at The Good Food Institute, said, “We are very pleased that Perdue is offering a blended product, and we welcome this important step forward. By integrating plants into their core products, Perdue has started on the journey to diversify their offerings and meet the growing consumer demand for plant-based proteins. Perdue is listening to consumers and responding to the meteoric rise in interest in plant-based foods. It’s clear from the research that consumers are looking for plant-based foods that deliver on taste, texture, and nutrition, while also offering flavor experiences that are familiar.”
And that familiarity is the key for many of us who are transitioning into more plant based lifestyles. It's crucial that foods, specifically tastes and textures, are easy to recognize.
When discussing why Perdue chose to go in this direction — other than the obvious answer of "our kids haven't eaten any other foods but chicken nuggets and blue box mac and cheese for five years, and frankly we were getting desperate" (I'm paraphrasing) — Eric Christianson, chief marketing officer for Perdue, said, “By blending plants and vegetables with the Perdue chicken families love, not only are we helping to meet demands for millions of parents, but we are appealing to the growing number of flexitarian families who have an increased commitment to getting more plants and vegetables in their families’ diets.”
Flexitarian families are more and more popular. Even in my own family we have people who eat mostly vegan, some that eat a paleo style, and kids who live on everything that comes from the "freezer" section of the food pyramid. These new Perdue chicken nuggets are a lifesaver for parents like me who have a hard time getting their kids to acknowledge that there are foods that grow out of the ground, and are, indeed edible. I can't wait to buy a bag or 20.