SIMULATE, the company behind the NUGGS plant-based chicken brand, announced today that it has raised $50 million in Series B funding. The round was led by SEVEN SEVN SIX, with participation from Chris & Crystal Sacca, NOMO Ventures, McCain Foods, Imaginary Ventures and Day One Ventures. This brings the total amount of funding raised by SIMULATE to $61 million.
The company’s first product, NUGGS, is a pea protein-based “chicken” nugget the company launched through mail order two years ago. In March of 2020, SIMULATE launched its nuggets at retail, and in July of last year it introduced its second product, the DOGGS faux hot dogs. SIMULATE has since expanded its lineup with SPICY NUGGS and DISCS (fake chicken patties). According to the press announcement sent to The Spoon, NUGGS are now available at more than 5,000 retail locations. The company will add another 10,000 retail locations by the end of this year.
SIMULATE’s funding comes at a time of growth for the plant-based meat category. According to the Good Food Institute, U.S. sales of plant-based meat increased by more than $430 million from 2019 to 2020, with the market now worth $1.4 billion.
However, it also comes at a time of increased competition, especially in the fake chicken nugget space, and SIMULATE will need its bulked up warchest to compete. The company faces pressure from smaller players such as Nowadays, which just raised $2 million, and Rebellyous, which just expanded its retail presence throughout the Northwest. Then there are the larger players such as Target, which recently launched its own line of plant-based nuggets. Meat giant Tyson has its own line of plant-based nuggets as well.
SIMULATE says it will use the new funding to triple its team, speed up the development of new products, scale up manufacturing, expand its retail presence and expand internationally.