The San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) in Northern California will add vegan chicken nuggets to its lunch program this fall. The school district partnered with Seattle-based startup Rebellyous Foods to incorporate its Kickin’ Nuggets—which meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s standards for the National School Lunch Program—to its meals, which will be packaged and delivered to families as children continue at-home learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Providing our schoolkids healthier options that are good for the planet shouldn’t be hard. In fact, it should be the standard,” Miguel Villarreal, SRVUSD’s Director of Child Nutrition and Warehouse, said. “We’re excited to partner with Rebellyous to bring these options to students in our community.” 

Rebellyous was founded by Christie Lagally—the former senior scientist at food-advocacy firm The Good Food Institute—with the aim of developing affordable vegan products for the food-service sector while creating machinery that can be used by other plant-based companies to help scale their production. In April, the company secured $6 million in funding, which it is using to accelerate the production of its vegan chicken nuggets—made from textured wheat, chicken-less flavoring, cornstarch, oil, and corn breading—using a proprietary processing technique that creates a texture comparable to its animal-derived counterpart. Since February 2019, Rebellyous has supplied its vegan nuggets to schools, corporate cafeterias, hospitals, and universities in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay Area regions. 

“We’re thrilled to work with SRVUSD to be the first school district in the nation to offer the Rebellyous Kickin’ Nugget,” Lagally said. “Together we’re raising the bar for cafeteria food, one lunch tray at a time.”

Photo Credit: Hannah Kaminsky

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