KFC announced Wednesday that it is moving forward with meat alternatives via a deal with Beyond Meat to test plant-based nuggets, or Beyond Fried Chicken, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee, for about three weeks.
The nuggets—which will be available in more than 70 restaurants—will appear on menus Monday through February 23, or while supplies last. The move comes almost six months after the fried chicken chain tested plant-based food at a KFC in Atlanta, where it sold out in less than five hours. That decision made KFC the first national quick-serve restaurant to serve plant-based chicken in partnership with Beyond Meat.
Since that time, KFC and Beyond Meats tweaked the recipe to deliver “a texture of whole muscle chicken that looks and tastes like KFC’s world-famous chicken.” The L.A. Times reported that the nuggets are made with soy and wheat. If the plant-based chicken sells well, the item will expand to all of KFC’s domestic locations, the newspaper stated.
The nuggets will be available in a six or 12-piece combo meal, or in a four, six, or 12-piece à la carte item. Customers can order them plain or dipped in one of KFC’s sauces.
"The iconic flavor of Kentucky Fried Chicken is one that has never been replicated, despite many imitations, until now," said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer, KFC U.S., in a statement. "We've really pushed the limits to develop plant-based chicken that I think will have KFC and plant-based protein fans saying, 'That's finger lickin' good.'"
The news is a continued trend in the industry, where several chains have flocked toward the plant-based game, including McDonald’s, which announced earlier in January that it was spreading its Beyond Meat P.L.T.—plant, lettuce, and tomato sandwich—to more than 50 locations in Ontario, Canada.
In addition, Dunkin’ Donuts, along with Beyond Meat, used Snoop Dog a couple of weeks ago to promote a signature plant-based item called the D-O-Double G Sandwich.
On Tuesday, Starbucks said it will introduce a breakfast sandwich with a plant-based patty, following through with its promise to add more meat alternatives to its menu. However, all the buzz surrounding plant-based game isn’t entirely positive. Burger King recently announced that sales of its plant-based Impossible Whopper have slowed and that prices were cut, but the chain is still reportedly committed to the item and the plant-based movement.