KFC Testing Beyond Plant-Based "Chicken"

As ever more fast-food restaurants and chains embrace the growing craze around meatless meat, those who took a wait-and-see approach to the new industry trend are ramping up their efforts to get in on the action. But where restaurants selling burgers or beef tacos were a perfect match for products from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, right off the bat, chicken-centric restaurants have had to wait for plant-based food technology to catch up. (Beyond sold a chicken substitute for a time, before pulling it from stores earlier this year.)

Today, that wait is over, as heralded by KFC's announcement that it will be testing Beyond Fried Chicken at one Georgia location. Beginning tomorrow, August 27, a single KFC location in Smyrna, Georgia will offer Beyond Fried Chicken in 4-, 6-, or 12-piece portions, as well as boneless wings in 6- or 12-packs. (What's the different, though, between meatless fried chicken and meatless boneless wings?) A press release notes that the limited release will make KFC "the first national U.S. QSR (quick service restaurant) to introduce a plant-based chicken" item to its menu.

While quite a few of KFC's menu additions in recent years have privileged sheer audacity over most other concerns, often to great success, partnering with Beyond puts the chain in a different kind of ahead-of-the-curve position. As you might have suspected, "Customer feedback from the Atlanta test will be considered as KFC evaluates a broader test or potential national rollout." If the initial debut goes well, KFC has the chance to prove that even a plant-based take on chicken can remain finger-lickin' good.