KFC recently announced that it will start serving a plant-based fried “chicken” in a single store outside of Atlanta starting this week; the chicken alternative was developed with Beyond Meat, the company behind the infamous Beyond Burger. This potential vegan wet dream — Beyond Fried Chicken, as it’ll be called — will be distributed free to anyone who makes a purchase that day, according to CNN and Business Insider, in exchange for their feedback on it. KFC has been testing Beyond Fried Chicken the UK market, but let’s be honest y’all: The south knows fried chicken best, so the fact that it’s about to hit Georgia means it just got real.
I’ve been a vegetarian for almost as long as I’ve been southern, so I’ve tried every kind of chewy, insufficient-but-edible fake meat you can imagine and I’m a little dubious about the flavor factor here. But Kevin Hochman, chief concept officer for KFC US promises that the product is so authentic in flavor that we’ll all have a hard time telling it apart from the real thing. "I think we've all heard 'it tastes like chicken' — well our customers are going to be amazed and say, 'it tastes like Kentucky Fried Chicken,” he told CNN.
According to KFC’s press release, two kinds of Beyond Fried Chicken will be available at KFC: nuggets or boneless wings and each will be available in 6- or 12-piece combo meals. The wings cost a buck each, and the nuggets will be $6.49 for six and $8.49 for 12. Those who want to try the Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets can purchase a side of four for $1.99.
Vegan fried chicken is something I have been fantasizing about for decades. But the reality is that if you’re a strict vegan or vegetarian, this "chicken" isn’t necessarily for you. Some folks who follow veg diets want their food to be cooked without coming into contact with kitchen tools that have touched animal products — and that won’t be the case for Beyond Fried Chicken, as it’ll be “cooked in the same fryers with chicken," CNBC reported. KFC is reportedly targeting, “flexitarian customers,” a.k.a. people who want to eat less meat, but aren’t necessarily 100% vegetarian.
Vegan purists may freak out about the shared fryer situation, but even PETA, the holy church of vegetarianism says on its website that they, "urge vegans not to insist that their food be cooked on equipment separate from that used to cook meat; doing so doesn’t help any additional animals, and it only makes restaurants less inclined to offer vegan choices.”
Honestly, I couldn’t care less about the fryers. I want non-meat fried chicken and I want it now. But will this delicious promise of a product last long enough for me to get a taste? Business Insider reported that KFC "would consider customer feedback as it decides whether to test the menu item at more locations or launch it nationally.” Finger-licked fingers crossed.