KFC tests Cargill’s plant-based chicken in China

KFC will begin selling plant-based fried chicken made by Cargill at three locations in China later this month. This is the first time the fast food chain has trialed a meat alternative in the country.

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radub85 | BigStockPhoto.com
radub85 | BigStockPhoto.com

KFC will begin selling plant-based fried chicken made by Cargill at three locations in China later this month. This is the first time the fast food chain has trialed a meat alternative in the country.

The plant-based fried chicken will be sold at KFC restaurants in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzen on April 28-30, according to the brand’s Weibo account.

Only customers with a pre-sale coupon will be able to purchase the plant-based fried chicken. One serving includes five chicken pieces, sold for 1.99 yuan or approximately $0.28USD.

New for Cargill

Earlier this year, Cargill announced that it planned to offer plant-based patties and ground products to retail food and foodservice businesses beginning in April. Cargill, the largest feed company and third largest turkey company in the U.S., is one of the numerous meat processors that has dipped its toes into the plant-based market.

"We've created some of the best tasting products available in the plant-based category today," Elizabeth Gutschenritter, managing director of Cargill's alternative protein team, said at the time. "We've combined our deep knowledge of plant proteins with our expertise in R&D, product development and production to deliver products consumers will love."

Although sales of plant-based beef products have skyrocketed in the last year, manufacturers have struggled to develop an alternative that mimics the taste and texture of poultry.

Success in the U.S.

KFC first tested plant-based fried chicken last fall in Atlanta, Georgia. That product, made by Beyond Meat, sold out in less than five hours. The chain followed the successful trial by bringing the meat alternative to 60 restaurants in the Charlotte and Nashville markets in February.

"The iconic flavor of Kentucky Fried Chicken is one that has never been replicated, despite many imitations, until now," Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer, KFC U.S., said about the test item. "We've really pushed the limits to develop plant-based chicken that I think will have KFC and plant-based protein fans saying, 'That's finger lickin' good.'"

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