Photo: KFC

KFC isn’t “chicken” when it comes to experimenting with plant-based proteins. This week, Kevin Hochman the president of KFC’s U.S. business told Business Insider that the fast food chain will be meeting with several alternative protein makers to explore what an alterna-chicken product would look like.

The notion of a Kentucky Fried Plant-based Chicken menu item actually shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as restaurants across the country are joining the movement towards plant-based meat. Burger King is rolling out the plant-based Impossible Whopper nationwide, White Castle offers the Impossible slider, and Red Robin, Del Taco and Qdoba all have plant-based “meat” options on their menus.

KFC didn’t provide many details about its plant-based ambitions, but perhaps the company felt compelled to say something publicly after one of its key rivals, Chick-Fil-A, said last week it was exploring plant-based options.

The big issue facing both KFC and Chick-Fil-A right now is that the two big alternative protein companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible make beef and/or sausage substitutes, not chicken. In fact, Beyond Meat recently pulled its chicken strip offerings from store shelves because, according to a company FAQ, they “weren’t delivering the same plant-based meat experience as some of our more popular products.”

However, given that KFC doesn’t seem to be on any strict deadline for bringing a plant-based option to market, it could potentially find a partner like Tyson. The chicken giant announced earlier this year that it was developing its own plant-based proteins. Additionally, there is Seattle Food Tech, which has developed plant-based chicken nuggets for large scale commercial kitchens like those in school cafeterias and hospitals.

Of course, the true test for any plant-based chicken meal at KFC will be: Is it finger-lickin’ good?

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