KFC restaurants across the US will begin offering Beyond Meat fried chicken from January 10. The news comes on the heels of the announcement yesterday that KFC’s vegan chicken burger is to become a permanent menu item in the UK.
KFC first tested the Beyond Meat fried chicken in Atlanta in 2019, where it sold out almost immediately. Since then, the plant-based chicken has been trialled in several areas, but this is the first time it has been sold nationwide — though initially, it will only be available for a limited time.
Beyond Meat stock rose by over 7% following the announcement of the launch. This is a welcome development for the company, whose shares have lost half their value over the past year.
Plant-based but not yet vegan?
However, some vegetarians and vegans will be disappointed to hear that KFC’s new plant-based chicken is cooked in the same equipment as conventional chicken, while none of the three choices of accompanying dipping sauce are suitable for vegans.
Burger King and McDonald’s New Zealand have also previously angered consumers by cooking their plant-based burgers on the same grills as meat. While it may seem strange that these chains are alienating plant based consumers, it is important to remember that the target audience is the flexitarian, and it is imperative to put such products into the mainstream so that meat-eaters have access to them, and so that minds can be changed and transitions made.
Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, insists that the KFC launch is a step forward. “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,” he said.
“We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide.”