Beyond Meat and KFC Have Partnered to Revolutionize Faux Chicken

Kentucky Fried Chicken’s has catapulted plant-based chicken into the mainstream.

Jan 26, 2020

(Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com)

Catching on to the quickly growing trend seeing meat alternatives progress beyond veggie burgers, more fast food chains throughout the world are adding plant-based options to their menus. Faux chicken, for instance, is now available alongside plant-based vegetarian hits like Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, IKEA's vegan meatballs, and Denny's just added Beyond Meat's burger in more than 1,700 restuarants across North America. 

While veggie burgers have often taken center stage, chicken lovers can rejoice because the fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) joined forces with mock meat guru, Beyond Meat to create the popular faux-chicken treat - Beyond Fried Chicken. 

The pilot program that really started the ball rolling began in August 2019, when KFC and Beyond Meat tested its newest product in one of its Atlanta, Georgia franchise restaurants- and sold out within five hours according to VOX

People lined up for two hours to taste the newest sample. According to a Beyond Meat press release, website, one woman even changed her flight to catch the limited supply, tweeting “I literally changed my flight out of ATL so I could stop by and support Beyond at KFC. It was incredible.” 

KFC announced that the amount of plant-based chicken sold in just five hours was equivalent to one-week worth of their popcorn chicken sales.

Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have succeeded in creating global partnerships with some of the largest food producers and providers because their products mimic the taste, texture, and nutritional benefits of animal-based foods without the harmful environmental, ethical, or health related effects.  

Eating plant-based proteins is a growing trend throughout the world. In fact, according to the British Takeaway Campaign, vegan takeaway meals grew by 388 percent between 2016 and 2018, making such options the fastest-growing takeaway food in the UK.  

While the number of vegans worldwide has grown at an unprecedented rate this past decade, much of the reason that plant-based foods have taken-off so substantially are due to the growing number of flexitarians - people who integrate more vegan options into their life, but aren’t strictly vegan or vegetarian. 

A whopping 70 percent of the global population is either reducing meat consumption or avoiding it altogether reported Global Data, a prominent data and analytics company that works with 4,000 of the world’s largest companies. 

That statistic is both astonishing and exciting because research published in the science journal Nature shows that by adopting a flexitarian diet, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by up to 52 percent.

But there’s still work to be done. While McDonald’s saw an 80 percent increase in vegetarian sales in the past year, the company still sells about 75 hamburgers per second or 1.6 billion pounds of beef a year, according to The Drum. This releases 22 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Vicky Bullen, chief of Coley Porter Bell, the branding and design agency behind M&S, Tesco and Premier Foods’ vegan ranges told The Drum, “Crucially, there is room here for fast-food brands to get involved. And fast-food brands have [the] heritage in being inclusive to as many customers as possible, so it would be unthinkable that they wouldn’t aim to provide for the plant-based diet."

The great news is that every time you eat, you have the chance to opt for a sustainable option. As fast-food chains increase their plant-based options, it makes veganism and flexitarian-ism more affordable, accessible, and well, delicious! 

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HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.