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SIMULATE, the New York startup behind the tech-forward plant-based NUGGS, has just launched its newest product – a vegan chicken patty dubbed DISCS. Known as the “Tesla of Chicken”, the food tech describes its operations as similar to a software firm that constantly improves its formula and “updates” its products to bring consumers the best-tasting plant-based alternatives possible.
DISCS is SIMULATE’s latest product, a plant-based chicken simulation made from soy and wheat protein clocking in at 17-grams of protein per serving. They are now available through the brand’s direct-to-consumer website in two different sized packages, including a US$34.99 eight-patty box and a US$44.90 16-patty box, available to ship across all U.S. states except for Hawaii and Alaska.
Self-described as a startup that operates much like other software tech companies, the new chicken patties was developed after its flagship plant-based nugget product dubbed NUGGS, which have undergone several updated iterations and “release notes” after gaining consumer feedback from its community of customers called “beta testers”.
Since the startup’s inception in 2018, it has updated its plant-based nuggets several times and published its changes on its website to communicate to consumers in full transparency the different adjustments it has made. DISCS were created after the company received multiple requests from its testers to introduce more plant-based versions of “nostalgic cafeteria food”. SIMULATE’s team of scientists then optimises more than 60 variables from consumer feedback and insights to ensure its products deliver the most authentic mimicking of real chicken meat.
“[Our products] are continuously updated by our team of food scientists and engineers in NYC,” wrote the company in a press statement earlier this year, following its US$4.1 million financing round that brought its total to over US$15 million. “We take user feedback, find areas for improvement and as we develop new versions of the product we let our users know.”
The exact formula for DISCS is based on what the company has learned since launching its latest “2.0” version of NUGGS, which it says enables a “close to indistinguishable” substrate, flavour and fibre thanks to the use of soy and wheat protein and the “disabling” of ingredients like konjac, dehydrated seaweed, pea protein and vital wheat gluten.
We take user feedback, find areas for improvement and as we develop new versions of the product we let our users know.SIMULATE
Some have already pointed out that by calling its latest product DISCS, the company will be able to dodge the many attempts by big meat producers and lobbyists to ban plant-based companies from using “meaty” terms like burgers, sausages or steak in a bid to stop the rising plant-based and flexitarian shift recorded globally.
In the wake of the coronavirus, which has exposed the dangers of the meat supply chain, shoppers all over the world have turned to plant-based substitutes – and recent data suggests that the majority of first-time buyers of alternatives want to keep doing so even when the pandemic is over.
But while the meat industry continues to fund campaigns against plant-based meat labelling in the U.S., the E.U. has recently voted to allow plant-based products to continue using such terms after recognising that it does not mislead consumers.
All images courtesy of SIMULATE, lead image courtesy of SIMULATE & designed by Green Queen Media.