After years of testing, KFC will now add plant-based fried chicken to its menu starting next week. The fried chicken chain will start serving customers Beyond Meat’s plant-based chicken, but only for a limited time.
Plant-Based Fried Chicken Now A Reality At KFC
KFC and its parent company Yum Brands already spent more than two years developing a plant-based meat substitute to serve at KFC branches.
In August 2019, KFC introduced its plant-based fried chicken at an Atlanta branch. The store sold out its stock in less than five hours.
The company also introduced the new menu item in its Nashville, Charlotte, NC, and southern California branches two years ago.
Beyond Meat, KFC’s partner and a leader in plant-based food manufacturing supplied the major ingredient.
Together with KFC and Yum Brands, they created a plant-based meat substitute that mimicked the taste and texture of chicken.
Meanwhile, KFC hopes that by introducing plant-based fried chicken, customers can have a more nutritious option. KFC’s US stores will offer Beyond Fried Chicken in six- or 12-piece orders, including dipping sauce.
Healthier Choices Via Flexitarian Diet
KFC US President Kevin Hochman said that they specifically targeted January for its tendency for new year’s resolutions. In fact, many Americans start January with a pledge to make healthier eating choices.
“This is really about where the customer is going; they want to eat more plant-based proteins,” Hochman said. “It’s January, so it’s a time of New Year’s resolutions and wanting to do something different in your diet.”
However, more and more Americans are embracing the idea that excessive meat consumption can lead to health problems and ruin the environment faster. This is why many are embracing a flexitarian diet.
This entails Americans cutting down on meat consumption. In return, plant-based substitutes are growing in popularity among Millennials. KFC hopes that their plant-free fried chicken will grow in popularity.
KFC To Launch Plant-based Fried Chicken Despite Omicron Surge
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said that the company will be ready to supply KFC during its launch. In fact, “from a supply perspective, we feel really good about it, and it’s something we have experienced within initial trials,” he said. Both Hochman and Brown are so upbeat that they won’t let the current Omicron surge affect them.
The pandemic disrupted the fast food industry in more ways than one. The pandemic itself shut down retail stores and dining establishments for a couple of weeks beginning in 2020.
Then, supply chain snags reduced inventories, limiting what stores can sell. Finally, the pandemic also led to a mass movement by workers to quit in favor of better-paying jobs.
This led to short-staffed branches that offered limited menus. The pandemic also prompted some stores to close.
Ramping Up Supplies for Launches
Nearly a year ago, Beyond Meat announced a formal partnership with Yum. The deal locks the company into creating exclusive plant-based substitutes for Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC.
However, some of Yum Brands’ rivals began launching their own plant-based meat substitutes. For example, Chipotle Mexican Grill rolled out plant-based chorizo earlier this week.
Meanwhile, KFC Is pulling out all the stops to ensure a successful launch. The company invited YouTube star Liza Koshy to star in the plant-based chicken ad campaign.
However, instead of targeting vegans and vegetarians, KFC will focus on selling its plant-based fried chicken to its regular, meat-loving customers. Marketing to non-meaters will prove difficult as the company will use the same frying equipment as KFC's signature chicken dishes.
Watch the Finance Meta News reporting that KFC will launch plant-based fried chicken made with Beyond Meat nationwide:
What do you think of KFC’s plant-based fried chicken? Are you curious enough to try it out?
Let us know what you think about launching a product during the pandemic. Share your comments below.
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