One in five Brits (19%) say nuggets are their ultimate comfort food – with the same number claiming they could not survive without the tasty treat, research has found.

The study of 2,000 adults, who enjoy the breaded snack, found that they typically tuck into nine nuggets a month, over two different eating sessions – although some nugget lovers have eaten as many as 10 in one go.

Over a quarter (26%) will get right in there and eat them with their hands – although a more civilised 21% will use a knife and fork to polish off their nuggets.

And for 16%, plant-based nuggets have now overtaken those made with chicken, when it comes to the type of nugs they would rather chow down on.

One in three (34%) have munched on nuggets in the car, while 13% have even enjoyed the savoury snack in bed.

And some of the more unusual nugget-eating habits include nibbling the coating off then eating the interior, pouring sauce into the box and shaking it to coat them – and even dipping them into milkshakes.

The research was commissioned by Impossible Foods, to mark a nationwide giveaway of its plant-based nuggets, ahead of National Nugget Day on Monday (November 13).

A spokesman said: “We knew people liked their nuggets – but clearly, they feel even more passionately than we thought.

“It’s great to see that nugget fans are quite adventurous, in addition to being open to plant-based options. We’re pleased that more people are looking to satisfy their nugget cravings in a way that’s better for the planet.”

The study also found that, when it comes to top “nuggeters” around the UK, it was London that took the crown for the nugget capital, by getting through the most each month – while folks in the East Midlands devour the fewest.

Meanwhile, those in the North East are the biggest fans of combining ketchup with their nugs, whereas the West Midlands are more likely to opt for barbeque sauce – although 37% of all those polled feel “double dipping” is a big nugget no-no.

The research also revealed 13% of the nation’s nugget fans are so in love with them, that if they found themselves able to pick their last meal on Earth, nuggets would make it on to the plate.

The data also revealed that some respondents claim to have taken on board as many as 30 nuggets in one sitting – so it is perhaps unsurprising that, for the average nugget eater, a lifetime of nugs adds up to a whopping 6,804, in total.

It also emerged that, of those polled yet to try a plant-based nugget, four in ten are open to giving them a try.

The spokesman for Impossible Foods, which is giving away free nuggets while supplies last at participating restaurants from November 13 to 15, added: “Fans don’t have to give up their beloved nuggets to enjoy a crispy, tender bite.

“Wherever and however they eat them, we want to help people to get their fix without compromise – and hopefully reduce their environmental footprint along the way.”