In a move that could cause founder Colonel Sanders to spin in his grave, KFC is to trial meatless “chicken” products.
The fast food chain is offering vegan “chicken” nuggets and wings made from plants at an outlet in Atlanta today.
The company has teamed up with vegan food maker Beyond Meat to take advantage of the growing popularity of meat substitutes.
Initially, the meatless products will be available for just one day, but, if customer feedback is positive, the chain could put plant-based chicken nuggets and wings on its US menus and expand the test to other markets.
KFC, which has more than 23,000 restaurants around the world, is one of many fast food chains experimenting with plant-based food as they respond to consumer demands for healthier, more sustainable products.
Burger King announced a plant-based Whopper earlier this year, while Subway has also said it will test plant-based meatballs.
Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest meat producers, recently announced plans to sell nuggets made from pea protein.
Chicken producer Perdue Farms is also making nuggets, tenders and patties from a blend of chicken and vegetables.
US sales of meat substitutes are expected to jump 78% to $2.5bn (£2bn) between 2018 and 2023, according to market research firm Euromonitor.
Shares in Beyond Meat surged by 4% after the trial was announced, with those of KFC’s parent company, Yum!, went up by 1.3%.
Beyond Meat, a California-based start-up, also sells plant-based burgers, sausages and meat crumbles to retailers and supplies other fast food chains such as Carl’s Jr and Del Taco.
Its 2012 start-up product, frozen plant-based chicken strips, were recently pulled because it wanted to improve the recipe.
The number of vegans in the UK has grown from 150,000 in 2014 to 600,000 in 2018, according to the Vegan Society.
Manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurants are scrambling to cash in on the expanding market.
Last week, Greggs said it was working on vegan versions of all its bestselling products, from steak bakes to pasties and donuts, after the success of its vegan sausage roll.
Source: SKY NEWS