KFC announced today that it was expanding the test locations of plant-based Beyond Fried Chicken. Starting on February 3, select KFC locations in Charlotte, NC and Nashville, TN areas will offer Beyond Meat’s vegan fried chicken. It will be on menus through February 23, or as long as supplies last.
This news comes roughly five months after KFC debuted the Beyond Fried Chicken sandwich during a one-day test in Atlanta, GA. To say that the test was a success is a bit of an understatement — it drew lines around the block and sold out in less than five hours.
Since then, Beyond hasn’t just been sitting around twiddling their thumbs — according to the press release, the Charlotte and Nashville markets will actually roll out a new-and-improved iteration of the Beyond Fried Chicken. The plant-based chicken 2.0 is apparently more closely resembles the real thing, and also “pulls apart like a chicken breast.”
This last part is especially important since texture is a huge issue for plant-based meats, particularly for whole muscle cuts like steak and — you guessed it — chicken breast. Beyond Meat may have attracted flexitarians with its burger, but chicken is a different, and more challenging, ball game. Beyond knows it only has one shot make a first impression for its plant-based bird, which is likely why it’s being so cautious (and gradual) in its rollout.
Interestingly, the new locations will offer a more streamlined plant-based menu than the Atlanta test. Charlotte and Nashville will sell Beyond Fried Chicken pieces in four and 12-piece a la carte and combo options. Atlanta, however, offered wings and nuggets, but not whole fried chicken pieces. Pricing for the new locations has not yet been disclosed.
It may be moving slowly, but KFC is definitely invested in the plant-based meat movement. And not just in the U.S. In November KFC Canada did a one-day test of a meatless fried chicken sandwich featuring Lightlife “chicken,” though it has yet to announce a rollout schedule. I think that KFC is smart to get a chicken alternative on its menu before its bird-loving QSR competitors like Chick-fil-A and Popeye’s join the party.
If you’re in one of the lucky areas to get the Beyond Fried Chicken, make sure to drop us a line and let us know how it tastes!