Over 4,000 KFC outlets in the U.S. will add Beyond Fried Chicken, a plant-based chicken alternative to their menus starting Monday, CNBC reported. The offering comes after years of partnership between KFC and Beyond Meat, the makers of the plant-based protein.
Two years ago, the collaboration's trial at an outlet in Atlanta received an overwhelming response as the product was sold out in just five hours. Similar trials were then held in Tennesse, North Carolina, and Souther California the same year but the uncertainty that accompanied the pandemic put a damper on the plans. With the pandemic far from over, KFC has now decided to surf the new year resolutions wave to carry out a full-blown trial of these alternative products.
Americans are taking a flexitarian approach to their diet, where they reduce their meat consumption for health as well as environmental reasons but do not give it up completely. Plant-based meat products are the alternative that one can pick up in these scenarios. In 2020, McDonald's announced a plant-based burger as well, which incidentally is available in all its U.K. outlets starting today, Independent reported.
KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands, has tied up exclusively with Beyond Meat to introduce plant-based options for its other brands Taco Bell and Pizza Hut as well, while Mexican fast-casual restaurant chain Chiptole, will also offer plant-based chorizo starting Monday, CNBC reported.
KFC's offering will begin at $6.99 for a six-piece order with dipping sauce, although pricing may vary by location, the company told Vox. The plant-based alternate is lighter on the pockets than similar meat offerings on the menu but it is the taste and texture that determines whether customers will opt for it. Similar trials by other chains such as Dunkin and Little Caesar were short-lived, as Vox report notes.
Beyond Meat has improved the product by using "whole muscle technology" which uses the plant protein to imitate whole muscle cuts of meat instead of just grinding it and making nugget or muscle tender forms, Vox claimed. KFC is confident that the technique has been perfected and has decided to go ahead with a national rollout at a time when people make resolutions to reduce their meat consumption.
The only problem is that this is also a large-scale trial and the products will be offered for a limited time, until supplies last. The fast-food chain will factor in customer reaction to decide the next course of action, although it is likely to persist with plant-based meats in the near future, Vox reported.
CNBC clarified that the product is not aimed at vegans and vegetarians though since it is made using the same equipment that KFC uses to make its fried chicken.