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On Wednesday (Jan. 29) Beyond Meat announced that it will supply plant-based “fried chicken” to various KFC locations in Tennesse and North Carolina after a 2019 test showed strong consumer interest, as CNBC reports.

It’s becoming trendy for fast-food chains to add plant-based mock meat options. Chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Dunkin brands have swiftly added imitation meat products to their menus. White Castle and Del Taco also have mock meat options.

While those companies have included imitation pork and beef to their menus, Yum Brand’s KFC will be the first to present plant-based “chicken.”

KFC’s new forthcoming plant-based “chicken,” which is already available in Canada, is 80 calories per piece and looks like a fried chicken nugget. The “chicken” also has sinewy texture that makes it similar to real chicken.

The plant-based “chicken” will become available next month in dozens of KFCs in and around Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Beyond Meat’s CEO Ethan Brown said in an interview that cultivating a muscle-like, fibrous texture is pivotal when creating mock chicken because humans expect that when they bite into a piece of meat.
The Louisville, Kentucky-based fast-food chain has over 23,000 locations in more than 140 countries. However, its roots are traced back to a roadside restaurant and service station that founder Colonel Harland Sanders ran in the 1040s.

Beyond Meat’s plant-based “chicken” is already being sold in a myriad of Asian countries, and the company is possibly opening up in China where KFC is the number one fast-food chain.

Both KFC and Beyond Meat said that they expect a high demand for the mock chicken, as last year’s one-day test in Atlanta, Georgia sold out in less than five hours.

Various imitation meat makers have dealt with capacity issues due to high demand, which is unexpected. The plant-based mock meat industry is expected to be worth $140 billion over the next 10 years.

“Our intention is to not run out,” said Andrea Zahumensky, KFC’s chief marketing officer. Beyond Meat is currently valued at almost $5 billion after its May IPO, is preparing to build facilities in the Netherlands and Canada. The Los Angeles-based company previously told Reuters it hopes to be entering Asia by the end of 2020.

 

Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.