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KFC to trial plant-based ‘Beyond Fried Chicken’

Image credit: Beyond Meat/KFC

Beyond Meat has announced a partnership with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to trial its ‘Beyond Fried Chicken’ pieces in an outlet in Atlanta, Georgia.

Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat is a leading brand producing realistic plant-based meat options. So far, the company has developed meat-free versions of chicken, pork, and beef, and its products are sold in restaurants (including Subway) and supermarkets (including Tesco) in dozens of countries.

The company will now be working with KFC to trial plant-based ‘fried chicken’, reportedly making KFC the first quick-service restaurant to introduce meat-free chicken options. The ‘Beyond Fried Chicken’ was developed after KFC asked the company to create a “finger lickin’ good plant-based fried chicken that would appeal to lovers of both Beyond Meat and KFC”. The food items were described as a “game changer” and the “perfect choice for those searching for plant-based meat options on-the-go”.

Complimentary samples of the plant-based fried chicken will be included with purchases of KFC menu items at the Cobb Parkway KFC near SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Beyond Fried Chicken will be available as nuggets or boneless wings, and will come with honey barbecue, buffalo, or ‘Nashville’ hot sauce.

“KFC Beyond Fried Chicken is so delicious, our customers will find it difficult to tell that it’s plant-based,” said Kevin Hochman, chief concept officer of KFC US. “I think we’ve all heard ‘it tastes like chicken’ – well, our customers are going to be amazed and say ‘it takes like Kentucky Fried Chicken'.”

Feedback from the trial in Atlanta will be used to inform discussions of a broader trial or even a US-wide rollout across more KFC chains. Following news of the trial with KFC, shares in Beyond Meat rose by five per cent.

Beyond Meat created its products using substitutes for the substances found in meat, but using plant-based ingredients, such as pea protein isolates, rice protein, mung bean protein, potato starch. Steam, pressure, and cold water are applied to a mixture of these proteins during cooking to form textures similar to those of pork, beef, or chicken. A similar approach is used by Beyond Meat rival Impossible Foods to create its own realistic plant-based meat alternatives. In April, Impossible Foods announced that it would partner with Burger King to trial a plant-based version of its signature Whopper sandwich.

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