The fake meat market has tanked, dozens of startup brands have failed, and supermarket buyers are cutting back on fake meat’s shelf space. Now there’s a new casualty in the once-hot sector: Longtime Nuggs CEO Ben Pasternak—who left school as a teenager to become an entrepreneur and later started the faux chicken-nugget company and its parent, Simulate—is out.
The shakeup is the latest in an industry that started with high hopes and generous funding and is now foundering. Nuggs, along with the rest of the struggling industry, now has to survive amid pressure from investors as dozens of startups have blown through billions in capital and are now pivoting away from their fake-meat product lines or shutting down entirely.
2024 will be a make-it-or-break-it year for the fledgling fake-meat startups still trying to survive. You know Fresh Take will be all over the fallout!
Have a great weekend, and if you’re still looking for gifts, especially for a hard-to-buy-for friend or colleague who cares about sustainability, pick up a copy of my book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat. I just celebrated Raw Deal’s first bookbirthday this week—and I still can’t believe it’s already been out for a year. What a ride!
— Chloe Sorvino, Staff Writer
Order my book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, out now from Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books.
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With Ben Pasternak out as CEO of Nuggs, cofounder, Sam Terris, who has served as Simulate’s chief operating officer for four years, is now CEO.
“This was a decision Ben and I made together over many months, and we ultimately aligned that this would be best for Simulate as we scale up our new technology,” Terris said over email. “He remains on the board as Chairman, and will continue to support the company from that position.”
Glorious al pastor tacos in the capital of al pastor, Mexico City. I snuck in a quick trip just before Thanksgiving and am still so thrilled that I did. Highly recommend—the city, all of its tacos, and, especially, these from Taqueria Orinoco.
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