Kentucky Fried Chicken is serving up a new vegan future for its fast-food chain amid poultry shortages and the continued disruption caused by the virus pandemic.
KFC's president in the U.S., Kevin Hochman, has been preparing the Louisville-based fast-food restaurant chain, known for its "Finger-Lickin' Good" chicken, for a future of plant-based meat. The company has been testing plant-based nuggets from Beyond Meat in select locations but has yet to take it nationwide.
The poultry shortage, which has disrupted chicken supply chains across the UK and US, could be why Hochman brings a faux option that replicates chicken to market faster than anticipated to alleviate supply woes. The shortage is so dire in the US that the company cannot promote its breaded chicken tenders on US television.
Bloomberg's Leslie Patton said KFC is preparing for what looks like an inevitable future of fake chicken going mainstream. He sat down with the KFC executive to discuss more about faux nuggets.
"Our plan is to try to replicate that Kentucky Fried Chicken as close as we can, obviously without using the animal. A lot of that is about how the chicken cuts and tears and the mouth feel. The gold standard is the chicken tenderloin or chicken strip," Hochman told Patton, adding that millennials are more receptive towards plant-based meat.
He continued: "We’re pretty bullish on that. We don’t think that plant-based is a fad, we think that’s something that’s going to continue to grow over time."
However, vegan could be a tough sell for the fast-food chain. The C-suite employees at its Louisville headquarters are more rounded than anyone else in their target audience and shouldn't deviate from the norm: Finger-Lickin' Good" chicken. Trying to convince someone in middle America to eat fake meat versus the real thing could be a tricky sell.
In the meantime, fake chicken nuggets could be the solution for KFC to alleviate supply troubles.