The new plant-based fried chicken nugget alternative, called Beyond Fried Chicken, will be added to menus nationwide beginning Monday, Jan. 10 for a limited time. It marks the first instance of a large national chain selling plant-based chicken products rather than the hamburger or sausage alternatives that have become increasingly common, the chain said.
“It’s time” said KFC US President Kevin Hochman in an interview with CNN Business. He added that the chain’s customers want to “eat less animal protein but don’t want to give up comfort food.”
Beyond Fried Chicken can be ordered in a combo meal that includes a medium drink and fries or à la carte in six- or 12-piece portions. Prices vary depending on location, but start at $6.99 for six pieces and cost more for the other options.
“The taste is so good that they might choose it over regular fried chicken,” Hochman said.
There have been a “few tweaks” between the different versions, Hochman said, and the most significant change was that customers wanted dipping sauces and to have it served like a nugget rather than a boneless wing.
Restaurants will receive Beyond Fried Chicken already pre-breaded and fried and in-store employees will re-fry it before serving. However, the new menu item is not for strict vegan or vegetarian eaters because it’s prepared in the same areas where chicken offerings are made.
Fast food chains have jumped on the plant-based meat trend as a way to bring in new customers, attract former customers and build excitement around brands. Companies are also appealing to so-called flexitarian eaters looking to reduce their meat intake for health or environmental reasons.