KFC to launch plant-based chicken nationwide on January 10

KFC will debut Beyond Fried Chicken in restaurants across the U.S. for a limited time beginning January 10, becoming the first plant-based poultry product created for a national chain.

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KFC Canada Introduces Plant-Based Fried Chicken (CNW Group/KFC Canada)
KFC Canada Introduces Plant-Based Fried Chicken (CNW Group/KFC Canada)
KFC Canada

KFC will debut Beyond Fried Chicken in restaurants across the U.S. for a limited time beginning January 10, becoming the first plant-based poultry product created for a national chain.

“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,” said Ethan Brown, Founder and CEO, Beyond Meat. “We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide.”

Other foodservice brands feature meat alternatives on their menus, most notably the Impossible Burger at Burger King and the McPlant Burger at McDonald’s. However, these products are all beef substitutes. The taste and texture of chicken is much harder to replicate in a plant-based protein.

Plant-based chicken alternatives are especially primed for significant growth in the next 12-18 months, with innovation toward products that more closely resemble whole cuts expected,  according to a recent report from Bloomberg Intelligence

Plant-based chicken that took two years to perfect

KFC first trialed the plant-based nuggets at a single store in Atlanta in August 2019. The chain thought the supply would last them for a week – but sold out in less than five hours. KFC expanded tests to Charlotte and Nashville in 2020 and announced that an active rollout to eight global markets would begin in May 2021.

“The mission from day one was simple – make the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken from plants,” said Kevin Hochman, president, KFC U.S. “And now over two years later we can say, ‘mission accomplished.’”

Beyond Fried Chicken “looks and tastes like KFC's world-famous fried chicken, but with the attributes of plant-based meat,” according to the quick service brand. In conjunction with Beyond Meat, KFC tweaked the soy-based recipe to mimic the taste and texture of real chicken more accurately, which will be sold battered and fried.

The plant-based chicken will be sold in a variety of six to 12-piece a la carte and combo options with a choice of dipping sauce options. Prices range from $6.99 and may vary by location.

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