Nearly three years since they tested Beyond Meat plant-based fried chicken at one of its Atlanta locations, KFC is officially rolling out the plant-based menu offering nationwide later this month. On Tuesday, KFC announced that Beyond Fried Chicken will finally be available to purchase at participating KFC locations in the United States starting January 10th, (via Yahoo!). At that time, customers will be able to order the item as a combo meal or a la carte in six or 12-piece orders.
Beyond Fried Chicken was first tested in Atlanta in August 2019 where it was offered in six or 12-piece combo meals as boneless wings or in a six or 12-piece option tossed in one of three sauces. The test was so popular that customers lined up at the Cobb Parkway location at 8 a.m. with double-looped drive-through lanes, selling out the test launch in just five hours with the location selling in that time the same amount of food that they location normally sold each week in popcorn chicken. Additional tests were launched in Nashville, Charlotte, NC, and Southern California in 2020.
Last September, KFC U.S. president Kevin Hochman revealed to Fortune that the chain wasn't done with Beyond Fried Chicken and was working to prefect the new offering.
"What we're trying to replicate is a tenderloin where you actually have the muscle fibers. The texture is a bit more pleasing than what we'd call a 'chewed-and-glued.' It's a different technology," he said last year.
KFC is the first fast food chain to bring a Beyond Meat chicken item to their menu, though many restaurants have been moving to add various plant-based offerings to their menus in recent years. A few years ago, Burger King rolled out its first plant-based burger, the Impossible WHOPPER and last year, Wendy's unveiled plans to test the Spicy Black Bean Burger in three markets. Taco Bell is also getting into the plant-based meat alternative game with the restaurant testing a plant-based Naked Chicken Chalupa last year as well.
KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken debuts nationwide at participating U.S. locations on January 10th.
Will you be checking out KFC's plant-based chicken? How do you feel about the plant-based menu item trend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.