The fast-food giant is launching the vegan fried chicken nationwide following successful trials at various locations over the last couple of years.
KFC has announced it is launching Beyond vegan chicken at its 4,000 US locations beginning 10 January.
The move comes after the fast-food giant started testing Beyond’s plant-based chicken in August 2019 in Atlanta and expanded to more areas the following year.
The launch is a part of a global partnership between Beyond Meat and KFC’s parent company to create plant-based menu items for Yum’s KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut over “the next several years.”
According to KFC, the Beyond Fried Chicken, which has gone through a “few tweaks” between the different trial versions, is “packed with delicious flavor and the juicy satisfaction that you’d expect from KFC’s iconic fried chicken.”
The nuggets will be available for a limited time and can be ordered à la carte in six-piece or 12-piece sizes, or as part of KFC’s first plant-based combo meal.
Prices for the Beyond Fried Chicken at KFC will start at $6.99 in most places but will vary by location.
Ethan Brown is the Founder and CEO of Beyond Meat. He said: “We couldn’t be prouder to partner with KFC to offer a best-in-class product that not only delivers the delicious experience consumers expect from this iconic chain, but also provides the added benefits of plant-based meat.
“We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide.”
The announcement comes at a time when a slew of food companies and retailers are unveiling plant-based options in a bid to hop on the plant-based meat trend. The movement has gained traction as more and more people want to ditch meat for health, ethical or environmental reasons.
In an interview with CNN Business, KFC US President Kevin Hochman said: “It’s time” adding that the chain’s customers want to “eat less animal protein but don’t want to give up comfort food.”
Moreover, Hochman said the launch is targeted at flexitarians who “want to eat a little less animal-based protein, but that haven’t become vegan or vegetarian.”
He said: “The taste is so good that they might choose it over regular fried chicken,”
It is important to note that the new menu item is not for strict vegan or vegetarian eaters because it’s prepared in the same areas where chicken offerings are made. Moreover, it is also served with a choice of three dipping sauces, Honey BBQ, Ranch, Honey Mustard, and KFC Sauce—all of which contain animal-derived ingredients.
And, cross- contamination is just one reason for which KFC’s vegan options have divided opinion within the vegan community the other being its blatant use of factory farmed chicken – a part of animal agriculture – that is not only unethical, and inhumane but is also a major contributor in the destruction of the planet.
A 2020 survey carried out by magazine Vegan Food & Living revealed that 57% of respondents ‘would never eat at KFC, even if there were more vegan options’.
“You’re still putting money into the coffers of company that makes its primary source of money off of the slaughter of a specific animal…this is just a marketing ploy,” one user said in relation to the chain releasing animal-free options.
Another added: “Most meat eaters are not going to eat plant-based nuggets instead of chicken nuggets.
“KFC is not planning to replace all their chicken with plant-based meat. All they’re doing is using the plant-based trend to attract even more customers. They know their current customer base is not interested in vegan food.
“It’s not a win for the animals, only a win for KFC and their horrendous business.”
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