The asteroid missed the dinosaur chicken nugget craze

The children’s snack that continues to capture the hearts of many college students.

By Olivia Stockmeyer

Since 1993, dinosaur chicken nuggets have captured hearts young and old. With their convenient prep time, delicious taste, and nostalgic quality, it should be no surprise that these bread-crumb covered creatures are a choice delicacy among college-aged students. 

Since chicken nuggets are cheap and easy to make, they make the perfect snack for college students, according to Syracuse University freshman Hannah Kim, a public relations major. 

“It’s just so nostalgic!” Kim said. “College is tough and sometimes all I want is some comfort food. Dino nuggets are my comfort food. Plus, bonus points, it’s so easy to make. Convenience is key in college.” 

The invention of the chicken nugget has been traced back to Robert C. Baker in 1963. According to Salon, Baker discovered a way for the breading to stick to the chicken in the fryer. This recipe was then mailed to several American companies and had taken off from there. The nostalgic dinosaur shape did not appear in stores until the movie Jurassic Park hit theaters in 1993. 

Dinosaur-shaped nuggets have come a long way since the 90s. Last year, BuzzFeed’s Ross Yoder blindly tasted the beloved treat from numerous nugget companies and gave them a score out of 10. These companies include Perdue Chicken Breast Nuggets, which received a 7 out of 10, and Tyson, which was ranked as 9 out of 10.

Dino nuggets are a staple of many students’ childhoods. Illustration by Kayla Tomlin.

According to Statistica, Tyson was the leading chicken manufacturer in the United States in 2022, and according to Ellen Byron, 21% of Tyson’s nugget income comes from these dinosaur-shaped nuggets. 

The reputation of these delicious critters has not lost momentum since its release. Students at Youngstown University started a petition with over 100 signatures to get Dino Nuggets in their dining hall. 

According to Syracuse University freshman Jayden Ramos, dinosaur nuggets are a main food group—and the shape even adds to the taste. 

“They’re amazing,” Ramos said. “It’s fun shaped and they taste different than regular nuggets.” 

Dinosaur nuggets are such a fan favorite that they’ve even inspired themed art and fashion from Etsy sellers like Kristina Gonzales, who makes and sells clay “dino nugget earrings,” or Emily-Beth Williams, who runs a dino nugget fan club and sells dinosaur nugget stickers. 

“For college students, I think the appeal is nostalgia,” freshman Juliana Rama said. 

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