As 2022 kicks into high gear, KFC has a "Kentucky Fried Miracle" to announce: its Beyond Fried Chicken, a plant-based chicken nugget alternative created in partnership with Beyond Meat, per a release from KFC parent company Yum Brands. Starting Monday and for a limited time, the fast-food chain will sell its newest menu item at KFC locations nationwide, according to the release. "It's time," KFC US chief Kevin Hochman tells CNN Business, noting Beyond Fried Chicken is for customers who want to "eat less animal protein but don't want to give up comfort food," and who haven't gone completely vegetarian or vegan. Beyond Fried Chicken doesn't meet those standards because it will be prepared in the same fryers used for meat, per Nexstar.
Atlanta got a sneak peek at Beyond Fried Chicken in 2019, with trial runs of updated versions that followed the next year in certain cities, including Los Angeles; Nashville, Tenn.; and Charlotte, NC. This is the first national rollout of such a product from a major chicken chain, reports Vox. CNN notes that other fast-food chains have also been getting into the plant-based game, including Burger King with its test of Impossible-brand nuggets, Dunkin' with a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich', and Chipotle with its announcement this week of a plant-based chorizo it's debuting on a trial basis nationwide.
"The taste is so good that [customers] might choose it over regular fried chicken," Hochman tells CNN. Kenny Torrella writes for Vox that he brought some Beyond Fried Chicken samples over to his neighbors' house to put Hochman's assertion to the test, and results were mixed: One of his neighbors said "it's good, but it doesn't taste like a chicken nugget," while her 24-year-old son said: "I'm really enjoying these. This is probably one of the better plant-based proteins I've had." The Beyond Fried Chicken morsels will come in six- or 12-piece packs or can be ordered as part of a combo meal. The pre-tax cost of a six-pack will start at $6.99, depending on location. (Read more KFC stories.)