By Mike Pomranz | FoodAndWine.Com
Troy Warren for CNT #Foodie
First tested in 2019, this collaboration between KFC and Beyond Meat has been over two years in the making.
Think the plant-based meat trend may have already peaked? We’re just five days into 2022 and already have plenty of reasons to think again. On Monday, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced they were expanding their plant-based chorizo nationwide after a successful test market run in 2021. Now, just two days later, another big chain has another big vegetarian announcement: On January 10, KFC will be bringing their Beyond Fried Chicken nationwide for the first time.
KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken — a collaboration with the plant-based giant Beyond Meat — already has well over two years of history behind it. Back in August of 2019, KFC boasted that they were the first national American fast foodchain to offer plant-based chicken by trialing the first version of Beyond Fried Chicken at just a single location for one day.
Needless to say, a lot has happened in plant-based meat since then — including Beyond Meat releasing its own chicken tenders this past July — and so KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken has been through a number of iterations and trials, too: A reformulated version first landed at about 70 locations in two test markets in January 2020. Then a third major test took place in Southern California in July 2020.
After that, 2021 was oddly quiet, but now KFC says they are ready to kick off 2022 with a self-described “Kentucky Fried Miracle.” The chain will be selling Beyond Fried Chicken across the entire U.S. for a limited time while supplies last starting Monday.
“The mission from day one was simple — make the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken from plants,” Kevin Hochman, president of KFC U.S., said about the new menu item, which was developed by Beyond Meat exclusively for KFC and is intended to mimic the taste and texture of whole muscle chicken. “Now, over two years later, we can say, ‘Mission accomplished.'”
When Beyond Fried Chicken arrives on January 10, KFC says it will be served in six- or 12-piece orders with a choice of dipping sauce: honey BBQ, ranch, honey mustard, or KFC sauce. It will also be available as part of KFC’s first-ever plant-based combo meal, sold with fries and a medium drink. Also worth noting, though the faux chicken itself is plant-based, KFC points out that it’s not prepared in a vegan or vegetarian manner.
“We couldn’t be prouder to partner with KFC to offer a best-in-class product that not only delivers the delicious experience consumers expect from this iconic chain, but also provides the added benefits of plant-based meat,” Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, added. “We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide.”
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