KFC and Beyond Meat joined forces to present the Beyond Bried Chicken, the first fast-food plant-based chicken the iconic Colonel Sanders offers.
Starting Tuesday, KFC customers in the KFC franchise near the SunTrust Park baseball stadium in Atlanta will be able to test the new meatless chicken from the plant-based food provider Beyond Meat.
KFC said in a statement that the Beyond Fried Chicken would be available in the world-famous KFC nuggets and wings in combination with different sauce options.
The new Beyond Fried Chicken will be cooked in the same fryers as the regular chicken, which means it will not be an appropriate option for vegans or strict vegetarians. KFC said it targets the so-called ''flexitarian'' customers or people that are trying to decrease their meat intake.
The news comes several months after Kevin Hochman, the head of the KFC's U.S. division said in an interview that the firm had no plans to experiment with vegan alternatives. However, he admitted having some scheduled meetings with leading suppliers to check the waters.
Ethan Brown, founder, and CEO of Beyond Meat commented that his only regret was the Colonel would not be able to share the special moment with his team. Brown also added that the new joint initiative proves the collective ability of KFC and Beyond Meat to follow its customers in their new endeavors.
In recent years, the highest share of KFC's growth has come from its overseas location. The domestic market accounted for only 17% of the sales last year. At home, KFC faces some severe competition from other fast-food chains such as Chick-fil-A and others.
The new deal with Beyond Meat is part of the company's attempts to bring the Americans back to KFC. The strategy worked for other restaurants, including Del Taco, which witnessed same-store sales return to growth after it rolled out Beyond Taco, a vegetarian taco option. By the end of 2018, KFC had nearly 4,000 locations across the nations.
The recent excitement about the meat substitute market has brought new investors in Beyond Meat and its competitor, Impossible Foods. Beyond Meat went public in May this year. Despite the market declines, the trade war with China and the recession fears, the company's shares have tumbled in the past months. However, they remained up 487% since its IPO in May.
What do you think? Are you positive about the future of the KFC's meatless chicken?