KFC Adds Vegan Fried Chicken to the Menu – Finally. Here’s Where to Get It
Get excited fried chicken lovers: Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is finally serving up vegan tenders nationwide. The new menu item, made with Beyond Meat, will show up at a KFC near you on Monday, January 10th. Whether it’s for a dinner date, a bucket to bring home to the whole family, or just a self-care drive-thru experience, the new Beyond Fried Chicken will be available at more than 4,000 KFC locations across the US. The fried chicken chain had first tested their vegan chicken offering with Beyond Meat back in 2019 in Atlanta, then rolled it out to more locations in 2020, and now will offer to the company’s signature fried chicken made from pea protein to everyone, while supplies last.
The Beyond Fried Chicken can be ordered as a 6-piece or 12-piece a la carte. The new menu item will also be available as KFC’s inaugural plant-based combo meal complete with the plant-based Secret Recipe Fries and a medium drink. The prices for the meals will vary by location. The company notes that while the recipes for the chicken and fries are fully vegan, the preparation cannot be guaranteed vegan due to equipment cross-contamination.
KFC started working with Beyond nearly three years ago to develop the plant-based chicken, showcasing the initial product at locations in Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and several Southern California locations. Over the two years of trials, the companies noted the success and positive consumer response. The initial trial marked the first time a quick-service restaurant featured the plant-based chicken on the menu and now intends to carry through with its plant-based mission.
“The mission from day one was simple – make the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken from plants,” President of KFC U.S Kevin Hochman said. “And now over two years later we can say, ‘mission accomplished.’”
Beyond extended the partnership with KFC’s parent company Yum! Brands early last year, working to develop new forms of plant-based protein fit for foodservice sale. Alongside KFC, Beyond’s partnership extended to Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. The company worked closely with executives from the fast-food branches to develop plant-based meat that would eventually hit the storefronts nationwide. Now, consumers will experience what the company calls a “Kentucky Fried Miracle.”
The two companies also enlisted actress and producer Liza Koshy to lead the “Kentucky Fried Miracle” campaign, promoting the launch of Beyond Fried Chicken. Koshy will walk the “Magic Chicken Carpet” to reveal the new plant-based chicken. The new plant-based item alongside its distribution range is an unprecedented accomplishment by both KFC and Beyond.
“We couldn’t be prouder to partner with KFC to offer a best-in-class product that not only delivers the delicious experience consumers expect from this iconic chain but also provides the added benefits of plant-based meat,” Founder and CEO of Beyond Meat Ethan Brown said. “We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide.”
KFC is working to adapt to a changing market as consumers’ tastebuds have shifted towards plant-based foods. With the plant-based market projected to rise 451 percent over the next decade, the fast-food company intends to capitalize on the success. The new plant-based chicken tenders will be marketed towards all KFC customers, not just the vegan or vegetarian clientele. Recently, The Good Food Institute found that about a third of consumers consider themselves “mostly vegetarian,” meaning that food giants like KFC can target the flexitarian by providing new options.
“A lot of people think plant-based is about vegan or vegetarian,” Hochman told Bloomberg. “Over 90 percent of people who buy Beyond in the grocery store are also eating animal proteins. I eat plant-based hamburgers at home now because I think they’re as good as the regular burger. Younger people tend to be the ones that want to eat more plant-based. We envision this trend to continue to grow. We’re pretty bullish on that. We don’t think that plant-based is a fad, we think that’s something that’s going to continue to grow over time.”
The new Beyond Fried Chicken will be available at every KFC location, so check the KFC app or KFC.com to make sure supplies are still available. Customers can place an online order or visit a local store to try the brand new vegan fried chicken.
Beyond's fast food endeavors can be found across the entire market. Outside of its Yum! Brands partnership, the company has also worked with Panda Express and McDonald's to create innovative plant-based versions of signature dishes. Panda Express debuted its new Beyond The Original Orange Chicken earlier this year at more than 70 locations nationwide. Beyond and McDonald's launched the McPlant Burger in late 2021 with local distribution within the US for its trial period.