We Live in a Golden Age of Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets
The ‘fun nugget’ boomlet taught makers to use fewer spikes, leave room for breading; now, perfecting Baby Yoda’s ears
By Ellen Byron
If Mark Tolbert could redesign his company’s Tyrannosaurus rex chicken nugget, he would make the neck slightly slimmer and the head a bit bigger.
“The head slopes down a little too much,” says Mr. Tolbert, a senior manager of the innovation center at Perdue Farms in Salisbury, Md. “But put some ketchup on it and you can’t see it.”
Mr. Tolbert speaks wistfully of the Triceratops, which consistently ranks as one of the most popular dinosaurs but so far eludes nugget-makers. “We’d never be able to make a chicken nugget with three horns coming out of its head,” Mr. Tolbert says. “That’s a three-dimensional shape.”
Major food companies can see a dinosaur-nugget boomlet. Parents buy them to motivate picky youngsters to clean their plates. Young adults eat them to spark childhood nostalgia.
And rising sales during the pandemic have prompted companies to consider what other nugget shapes might catch on—beyond the Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus.