Products & Launches

KFC Develops Plant-Based Option to Rival Trademark Fried Chicken Tenderloin and Strip

While the world faces increasing poultry shortages in the wake of Covid-19, KFC’s top executive in the US has revealed more about the brand’s plant-based developments. Kevin Hochman, president of KFC in the US, has commented that the fried chicken chain is developing a plant-based version of its trademark offering. 

As KFC plans ahead for the inevitable future of alt chicken in the mainstream, vegconomist takes a look back at the biggest vegan developments for the fast-food icon: 

June 2019 – KFC’s vegan Imposter Burger made by Quorn completely sells out across trial locations in the UK, reportedly selling 500% more than average menu launches. 

January 2020 – After being “bombarded with pleas to bring back the vegan burger”, KFC makes Quorn chicken burger option permanent across UK.

KFC vegan

January 2020 – After a successful test launch in Atlanta, GA, in which it sold out within 5 hours, KFC and Beyond Meat progress their partnership with launch of KFC Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets in over 60 restaurants in the US South. 

May 2020 – KFC China trials vegan chicken nuggets made in partnership with Cargill in Shanghai, pre-sale coupons for the first day sell out within one hour. Later launches Beyond Burger at KFC restaurants across China. 

June 2020 –  Through a partnership with Green Monday, KFC Hong Kong launches a series of plant-based products under the name The New Era Plant-Based Series, offering nuggets from Alpha Foods and a burger from Gardein.

KFC China
Image: KFC / Yum Holdings

August 2020 – After selling over a month’s worth of sandwiches in less than a day, KFC Canada makes the chicken-less chicken sandwich – made by Lightlife Foods – a permanent addition to its menu.

February 2021 – Beyond Meat signs historic deal with Yum! Brands to become supplier of choice for KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, as well as to develop plant-based menus for its restaurants.

Sept 2021 – US President of KFC reveals development of plant-based option to rival traditional fried chicken offering:

“Our plan is to try to replicate that Kentucky Fried Chicken as close as we can, obviously without using the animal. A lot of that is about how the chicken cuts and tears and the mouth feel. The gold standard is the chicken tenderloin or chicken strip,” US President KFC & Pizza Hut at Yum! Brands, Kevin Hochman, told Bloomberg.

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