McCain Foods, the frozen-food giant, has invested in Nuggs, a New York-based start-up selling plant-based alternatives to chicken directly to consumers.

The Canada-based potato products major today (9 July) announced what it called “a new strategic partnership and lead investment” in Nuggs, which offers nuggets made from pea protein. McCain said the fledgling firm’s nuggets are “higher in protein and lower in calories” that conventional products.

In a statement, Mauro Pennella, McCain’s chief growth officer, said: “Nuggs is an incredible product in itself and a very tasty chicken nugget simulation. Furthermore, the Nuggs teams approach to fast, iterative innovation, based on constant consumer feedback is a great way to create products people love.”

Approached by just-food, McCain refused to be drawn on how much it had invested in Nuggs and what size stake it had taken in the business.

Asked whey strategically McCain had invested in Nuggs and whether the company had plans to launch its own meat-alternative products, a spokesperson added: “Eventually McCain plans to sell Nuggs products internationally under the Nuggs brand.”