Fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken announced on Wednesday that it will be adding a meatless item to its menu following one of the latest trends in the food industry.
The new item, a plant-based chicken nugget, is called “Beyond Fried Chicken.” KFC will officially offer the meal nationwide on Monday, January 10 — but only for a limited time. KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken is the first meatless chicken product on the menu of a national fast-food chain — other franchises have only created meatless hamburgers and sausages.
KFC’s US President, Kevin Hochman, described the new product in a press release, saying that Beyond Fried Chicken is “packed with delicious flavor and the juicy satisfaction that you’d expect from KFC’s iconic fried chicken.”
The plant-based chicken comes with a combo meal that includes a medium drink and fries, but you can also choose to order the nuggets individually as well.
KFC and McDonald’s follow the rest of the food industry into meatless products
McDonald’s announced last October that it will begin rolling out its meatless burger – called the McPlant burger – in select locations throughout the United States in November.
The fast-food chain brought the McPlant to Irving, Texas; Carrollton, Texas; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Jennings, Louisiana; Lake Charles, Louisiana; El Segundo, California, and Manhattan Beach, California.
The burger, which was created in collaboration with the Beyond Meat plant-based company, was McDonald’s first foray into the non-meat burger market.
The company said that the initial limited rollout worked to help them “understand how offering a burger with a plant-based patty impacts the kitchens in our restaurants.”
The patty is composed of a mixture of plant ingredients including rice, peas, and potatoes, sandwiched on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise, onions, tomato, ketchup, mustard, and American cheese.
Although the McPlant burger is an exciting new step for the company, it is not a fast-food first, as McDonald’s has lagged behind its competitors in embracing meat substitute products significantly.
How Grecian Delight pioneered plant-based proteins
Competitors like White Castle and Burger King have offered such meat-free items on their menus for several years now. McDonald’s was preceded by the legendary Greek-American owned food company Grecian Delight/Kronos, which has expanded into plant-based proteins with a breadth far beyond any fast-food restaurant’s offerings.
“We quickly invested several million dollars to come up with our own version of that, and we’ve successfully sold national chains this product,” Peter Parthenis Jr., the son of Grecian Delight’s founder, Peter Parthenis Sr., told Greek Reporter.
Parthenis Jr., who is a great believer in innovation, invests heavily in research and development to expand the range of his products.
“Our goal, again, is a product-focused approach, not a brand-focused one — so we didn’t come out with “Grecian Delight” -branded, plant-based proteins. We partnered with customers and said ‘let us make you something like Beyond Meat, like Impossible Meat, but we’ll make it your brand.’
“Plant-based protein products are marketed under the label of our customer, and not with the label of Grecian Delight or Kronos. As we grow, we focus on our customers’ needs, and give them the product that they’re looking for,” Parthenis Jr. notes.
The popularity of plant-based protein products has exploded over the last few years, which has pushed fast food into exploring the products.
“The response has been great. There’s a strong demand for healthier and meatless offerings,” he says.