RACHEL BELLE

‘No harm, no fowl’: Seattle start-up brings plant-based chicken nuggets to cafeterias

Jul 11, 2019, 5:33 PM

Plant-based chicken nuggets...

The Rebellyous nuggets, all gussied up (Photo by Glenn Lacey)

(Photo by Glenn Lacey)

Veggie burgers and plant based chicken nuggets have been around for a while now, but the target audience was always vegetarians. But in the last couple of years, with the invention of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat, more and more meat eaters have been dipping a toe into the faux meat world.

A new Seattle start-up called Rebellyous Foods is making vegan chicken nuggets and exclusively serving them in hospital and school cafeterias and, so far, just a few restaurants.

“And the reason that we chose those partners in order to launch our product was quite simply because that’s where people eat chicken nuggets!” said Christie Legally, founder and CEO of Rebellyous Foods. “They eat them in cafeterias, they eat them at the dorm dining hall. But it’s also the places where people have the opportunity to make a quick decision and if they have that really easy decision to just choose plant based chicken nuggets instead of animal based chicken nuggets, making that choice easy is what’s going to make plant-based meat replacements something that can make a seismic shift both for our planet, the animals and the environment.”

Not going to eat that? Give it to your neighbor with food sharing app

The nuggets are made with soy and wheat and have less saturated fat and sodium and more fiber than chicken nuggets.

“There are actually quite a lot of fake chicken products out there right now, but the major reason those products haven’t taken over the market is because they’re too expensive and they’re not widely available.”

The Rebellyous nuggets cost the same as the chicken version, and Legally credits the factory machinery they’ve developed to keeping the cost down. Something she knows a lot about.

“I was working up at the Everett Boeing facility, working on manufacturing technology for the 777 and the 777X wing builds,” Legally said. “So I’m a manufacturing and aerospace engineer. I’ve spent my whole career working on aircraft and spacecraft. But also, like many people, really wanted to address some of the major issues that are plaguing our society. Climate change, human health, chronic diseases as a result of what we’re eating. In the meat industry: cruelty to animals, destruction of our environment as a result of massive meat consumption and production. Really felt like I needed to commit my career to making a difference in these kinds of issues.”

She went the venture capital route and raised more than $2 million dollars to start the company, and Rebellyous is getting ready to expand to a bigger facility to meet the demands of her customers.

“Mintel, which is a reporter of trends within the food industry, says that at least 30 percent of Americans want to regularly replace meat on their plate.”

And she says Americans eat a lot of chicken nuggets; so many, that even Tyson is getting into the plant based “chicken” nugget business.

Kids don’t have time to eat school lunch, Washington aims to fix that

“Chicken is the largest sector of the meat industry and chicken nuggets, patties and strips is actually the largest sector of the chicken industry. It’s actually 52 percent of the chicken industry. As a result we wanted to go after the largest sector of the largest segment of the food industry.”

In 2015 the World Health Organization declared that all processed meats are carcinogens, something you might not want to feed your family. And Rebellyous Foods is just one company trying to provide an alternative. Their tagline? “No harm. No fowl.”

Rachel Belle

Rachel Belle...

Rachel Belle

Belle: This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later

After 20 years in news radio, I'm leaving my post at KIRO Newsradio to focus on making my podcast "Your Last Meal" full-time!

1 year ago

emily post etiquette...

Rachel Belle

Emily Post’s “Etiquette” goes modern: Advice on pronouns, hugging

In 1922, Emily Post published her very first etiquette book. Since then, 18 editions have been published by five generations of Posts.

1 year ago

Friluftsliv...

Rachel Belle

Combat winter blues with friluftsliv, the Nordic tradition of being outside

Friluftsliv is part of the culture in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, places that are darker and colder than Seattle in winter.

1 year ago

small talk...

Rachel Belle

Most Americans hate small talk, but Seattleites continue talking about weather

Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 71% said they prefer silence to small talk and 89% of Gen Z use their phones to avoid making small talk.

1 year ago

(Igordoon Primus/Unsplash)...

Rachel Belle

Seattle sperm bank in desperate need of Black donors

Only 2% of American sperm donors are Black men, which is causing a lot of heartache for women specifically looking for a Black donor. 

1 year ago

Photo courtesy of Rosie Grant...

Rachel Belle

Woman cooking recipes engraved on gravestones says they’re all ‘to die for’

You know that recipe your family requests at every holiday, potluck and birthday party? What if you had it engraved on your tombstone?

2 years ago

‘No harm, no fowl’: Seattle start-up brings plant-based chicken nuggets to cafeterias