Get your dipping sauces ready: KFC is launching its vegan chicken nationwide. And it’s sure to be finger lickin’ good.
Starting January 10, Beyond Fried Chicken will be available in more than 4,000 KFC locations across the U.S. The fast-food chain teamed up with California-based vegan meat brand Beyond Meat to create the meatless chicken, first tested in August 2019 in Atlanta.
The collaboration made KFC the first-ever quick-service restaurant to introduce fried vegan chicken in partnership with the brand.
In February 2020, KFC expanded its trial of the vegan fried chicken to more than 70 locations in Charlotte, Nashville, and surrounding areas. That same month, Beyond Meat announced a global partnership with Yum! Brands—the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut—to help the chains’ increase their plant-based offerings.
Customers can order Beyond Fried Chicken with dipping sauce or tossed in Honey BBQ, Buffalo, or Nashville Hot sauce.
KFC launches vegan fried chicken
KFC’s initial trial of the vegan fried chicken was “beyond” successful. The company sold out of the plant-based chicken in less than five hours. Lines were double-wrapped around the block, and customers waited more than two hours just for a chance to get a taste.
The success of the test prompted KFC and Beyond Meat to improve the recipe. According to a press release, the meat-free chicken mimics the “whole muscle chicken.” Ethan Brown, CEO and founder of Beyond Meat, said the new recipe “tastes and pulls apart like a chicken breast.”
“The iconic flavor of Kentucky Fried Chicken is one that has never been replicated, despite many imitations, until now,” said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer, KFC U.S.
KFC has also expanded its vegan offerings around the world. In 2019, Brits were able to enjoy vegan fried chicken in a handful of locations. The company tested a Quorn version of its iconic recipe. The trial was a success, and the chain sold out of vegan chicken—available in the form of the Imposter Burger—four days in.
The following year, KFC U.K launched its vegan fried chicken—now called the Original Recipe Vegan Burger—in 900 locations.
Stores in Canada also trialed vegan fried chicken. In December 2019, an Ontario store served plant-based chicken sandwiches and popcorn chicken made with Lightlife vegan meat. It sold out in just six hours.