If you watch South Park at all, you may recall a joke from Season 21 where Cartman tricked his vegan then-girlfriend Heidi into eating KFC by hastily scrawling the word “Beyond” on the bucket and telling her it’s plant-based. It seems that, once again, animated sitcoms have predicted the future, as KFC is, in fact, offering Beyond fried chicken, though thankfully the bucket design is a little less lazy.
Starting this coming Monday, Kentucky Fried Chicken locations around the United States will begin offering plant-based Beyond fried chicken for a limited time. This is an end result from a multi-year partnership between Beyond Meat and KFC’s parent company, Yum Brands, to create a plant-based substitute of whole fried chicken while maintaining the general taste and texture. Apparently, it’s worked out; during the testing phases for the Beyond fried chicken in 2019 and 2020, all of the test locations completely sold through their stock of the stuff.
Much like other fast food attempts at branching out into plant-based meat, KFC is looking to appeal to those who either want to eat less meat or want a slightly healthier alternative (emphasis on “slightly”).
KFC restaurants nationwide will add Beyond Meat’s plant-based chicken to its menus, starting Monday for a limited time. https://t.co/tZTwTkdGQk
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 5, 2022
“This is really about where the customer is going; they want to eat more plant-based proteins,” said Kevin Hochman, US president of KFC. “It’s January, so it’s a time of New Year’s resolutions and wanting to do something different in your diet.”
“From a supply perspective, we feel really good about it, and it’s something we have experience with in initial trials,” said Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown.
KFC has clarified ahead of time that while the Beyond fried chicken is plant-based, it’s not entirely vegan, since it’s prepared with the same equipment and on the same surfaces as the regular chicken. This was a smart move, as that has proven to a sticking point for plant-based fast food in the past.