Should Fast Food Chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken Invest in Plant-Based Meat Alternatives?

The sudden-seeming trend towards plant-based meat alternatives could take a toll on many companies in the food industry if they don’t learn to adapt.  Look at Burger King’s recent partnership with Beyond Meat (and the quick success that came with it):  it appears that consumers are more interested in these products than ever before. 

And its not just about becoming vegetarian or vegan: switching to a plant-based diet has an immense impact on the planet.  A plant-based diet, frankly, uses less energy and resources than a “meat” based one. 

And with more and more consumers looking to make smarter choices with their money—including transitioning towards food that is better for the planet—it is wise for big food companies to take notice. Burger King, of course, has already taken the plunge, with Del Taco not far behind them.  With that, then, even companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken are considering the addition of plant-based alternatives to their menu. 

Yes, a fast food chain whose claim to fame is in their name is thinking about making the switch to an alternative.  

According to KFC US division head Kevin Hochman, the company does not currently have any plans to test these vegan alternatives but they have scheduled meetings with a handful of major suppliers to learn more about these products. Hochman goes on to say describe how the Yum-brands-owned company is simply exploring these options right now, which puts them right in line with industry stalwarts like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A.

Hochman notes, “For us, it’s really about understanding how does it evolve?  Is chicken as popular as it seems beef will be?  Is it something that would actually delight our customers or not?”

Indeed, it seems as though KFC is in the same camp as McDonald’s:  exhibiting some patience to see just how successful adding vegan options to their menu will be, in the long run. Success, of course, is not just about popularity: vegan meat alternatives are typically more expensive, so a successful conversion (or, evolution might be a more appropriate term) would have to account for consumers being more willing to pay these higher prices.

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