It's only available in one Georgia location right now, but there's hope for a national rollout.
The onward march of plant-based meat substitutes continues. KFC just announced yesterday that it has teamed up with Beyond Meat to offer Kentucky fried plant-based chicken at a single location near Atlanta, in Smyrna, Georgia. KFC says it is the first fast food restaurant in the United States to offer a plant-based chicken alternative; more commonly imitated meats are sausage and ground beef, usually in burger form.
While the press release does not say if the Beyond Chicken uses the same batter as regular chicken, KFC's president Kevin Hochman is confident customers will be happy.
"KFC Beyond Fried Chicken is so delicious, our customers will find it difficult to tell that it's plant-based. 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!'"
The menu includes nuggets with dipping sauce and boneless wings with three sauce options – Nashville Hot, Buffalo or Honey BBQ.
As mentioned, the Beyond Chicken launch is only a very small trial at a single location, but KFC writes that "feedback from the Atlanta test will be considered as KFC evaluates a broader test or potential national rollout." It is logical that KFC would be eyeing a broader market, following in the footsteps of other major chains such as Burger King, Little Caesar's, Tim Horton's, and Dunkin' Donuts, all of which have recently partnered with either Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat to offer plant-based versions of their popular menu items.
Expanding Beyond Chicken to other KFC locations would reflect consumer trends as well, which are embracing meatless menu items and plant-based alternatives in greater numbers than ever, driven by health, environmental, and ethical concerns. This interest is also reflected in Beyond Meat's soaring stock value, which CNN reports has risen to $150 from its $25 IPO, at one point "trading about 10 times higher than its IPO price." It's clear people want the option of plant-based meats, and KFC is wise to offer it.