The Fried Chicken Sandwich Wars Are About To Go Vegan

With new vegan chicken products on the rise, this might be the next competitive arena in fast food.

Tired of all the fried chicken sandwiches yet? Our jaws are still catching up with all the munching we're still doing. And yet—sorry, everyone—this onslaught is far from over. While the bun-topped poultry party feels like it's slowing down a little, another version is ramping up: chicken sandwiches, vegan-style. You might have noticed that The Takeout is keeping tabs on major vegan chicken offerings, and it's likely that the next wave will be headed in the sandwich direction, CNBC reports.

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Vegan chicken has grown steadily more impressive in quality and variety over the past year or so, and restaurants are starting to add these plant-based birds to their menus, some even building entire entree concepts around the new products. One vegan chicken chain in Texas called Project Pollo is planning on taking over shuttered Whataburger locations this coming fall as it grows. Its "Chikn," as Project Pollo calls it, is soy-based, and the chain is aiming to make vegan food more affordable and easier to access for all.

I'm an omnivore, but I like mixing up my protein choices with plant-based protein now and then. Turns out I'm in the majority: CNBC says that 90% of consumers who buy vegan meat substitutes also eat meat and dairy. And most of them are experimenting with plant-based for health reasons first and foremost; environmental considerations come in second.

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As you also have likely seen, the chicken supply chain mess may also be a driver to develop more meat-free options. Chicken is getting more expensive, which may spur larger fast food chains to at least consider looking into plant-based alternatives for their customers. While I can't quite imagine KFC selling a vegan chicken sandwich, who knows? It might just happen some months or years down the line.

Your local restaurants might also be getting in on faux poultry. I remember a restaurant in Chicago advertising a hen-of-the-woods fried mushroom sandwich as a special right alongside a standard-issue fried chicken sandwich. It looked awesome (unfortunately I missed out). In any case, keep your ear to the ground—there's probably a lot more chickenless chicken coming to restaurants near you, and that trend isn't going to slow down anytime soon.

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