KFC to introduce vegan 'chicken' nuggets and wings in US

The fried chicken chain is trialling the new dish in Atlanta on Wednesday

This undated product image provided by KFC shows plant-based chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken plans to test plant-based chicken nuggets and boneless wings on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, at one of its restaurants in Atlanta. (KFC via AP)
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McDonald’s has done it, Burger King has done it and now it’s KFC’s turn: the fast food industry is slowly but surely introducing vegan meals in its restaurants.

Following a successful trial of its Imposter Burger, made with Quorn and vegan mayo, in the UK back in June, the fried-chicken chain has announced it is working with the Leonardo DiCaprio-backed meat substitute company Beyond Meat on serving plant-based chicken nuggets and wings.

It is holding a one-day trial in the US that, if successful, could lead to the vegan options being included on its menus permanently.

The product is called Beyond Fried Chicken and it's made with plant-based wheat protein and coated in the usual KFC blend of 11 herbs and spices. It is being handed out in green boxes, as opposed to the brand's trademark red,  which feature the tagline "a Kentucky fried miracle". The limited trial is taking place at one KFC branch in Atlanta on Wednesday, when customers will receive free samples of the new dish, which are so realistic that diners will "find it difficult to tell" the nuggets are made entirely of plants, says a KFC spokesman.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals  said the move could signal the start of a "new era" for KFC. Over the past two decades, the well known American animal rights organisation has hosted thousands of protests and actions against the company for its treatment of chickens.

"We're hopeful that KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken test marks a new era for the company and that when it sees how much consumers value animals' lives, it will work to make changes in its supply chain as well," said PETA.

The organisation has also launched a petition you can sign, urging KFC to make vegan meals part of its permanent menu across its more than 23,000 restaurants around the world.

There are no plans as yet to launch the vegan options in the UAE.

Shares in Beyond Meat increased by 4 per cent after the trial was announced, and Yum! Brands – the New York stock exchange-listed company that owns KFC – rose by 1.3 per cent.

So far so good for vegans, but the question begs to be asked: how would Colonel Sanders feel about all this?