KFC Adds Plant-Based Fried Chicken from Beyond Meat
If you thought fast food’s plant-based meat obsession was slowing down, think again: Tomorrow, it’s infiltrating an entirely new part of the industry: chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken has announced it will begin trialing Beyond Fried Chicken on August 27 as part of a one-location test in Atlanta. Despite the limited scope, KFC says it's the first national American fast food chain to introduce planted-based chicken.
Beyond Fried Chicken will be available in two forms: nuggets, which will be sold with a choice of the usual dipping sauces, or boneless wings, which can be tossed in Nashville Hot, Buffalo, or Honey BBQ sauce. (The nuggets are four for $1.99, the wings start at six for $6.) As the name implies, Beyond Fried Chicken comes courtesy of a partnership with plant-based brand Beyond Meat — which has been covering the world of quick-service be it burgers with Carl’s Jr., tacos with Del Taco, or breakfast sandwiches with Dunkin’. (Not to mention that you can buy Beyond Meat products at the grocery store, and the company had one of the biggest IPOs of the year.)
Though KFC doesn’t explicitly say if this plant-based chicken uses the same batter at their regular fried chicken, the chain does state that Beyond Fried Chicken “offers the finger lickin’ good fried chicken flavor only KFC can deliver.” Also, as is always the case with these major partnerships, KFC worked directly with Beyond Meat on the new product, seeking “to create a finger lickin’ good plant-based fried chicken that will appeal to lovers of both Beyond Meat and KFC.”
“KFC Beyond Fried Chicken is so delicious, our customers will find it difficult to tell that it’s plant-based,” Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer for KFC U.S., said in the announcement. “I think we’ve all heard ‘it tastes like chicken’ — well our customers are going to be amazed and say, ‘It tastes like Kentucky Fried Chicken!’”
Unfortunately, finding out for yourself won’t be easy. The only place to try this new faux-chicken will be at KFC’s Cobb Parkway location near SunTrust Park in Smyrna, Georgia. On the bright side, however, if you drop in between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, you can get a free sample with any other purchase while supplies last. You’ll also know you’re making a difference: KFC writes that “feedback from the Atlanta test will be considered as KFC evaluates a broader test or potential national rollout.”
Sadly, that’s the only detail the chain provides hinting at when, or if, Beyond Fried Chicken might reach more locations. That said, rolling out plant-based chicken at one location and claiming a “first” seems like a hat tip to something bigger — and not in line with the way Beyond Meat has been doing business up to this point. Yes, it’s pure speculation, but don't be surprised if we see a larger launch in the near future.