KFC, aka Kentucky Fried Chicken, has nearly 4,000 locations in the United States. The fast food chain sells nearly 400 pieces of chicken every minute, and to meet that demand, farms are estimated to supply it with 23 million chickens each year.
While KFC announced new chicken welfare metrics in 2020 and is hoping to reduce emissions by 46% by 2030, it’s hard to be sustainable with such high production rates. While poultry is considered the most sustainable meat option of the bunch, it still takes 468 gallons of water to make one pound of chicken. And, approximately the same amount of carbon emissions as driving a car eight miles.
The chain began testing vegan chicken nuggets in partnership with Beyond Meat in Atlanta in 2019, selling out within five hours. From there, the menu item was tested in Nashville, TN; Charlotte, NC; and southern California. Now, it’s officially time for it to be sold nationwide—and that’s great news for the planet.
How Beyond Fried Chicken Can Benefit the Planet
Plant-based meat options have a much lower carbon footprint than animal-based foods, so making this delicious option available to its millions of customers could inspire more people to make planet-friendly food choices.
Every time someone opts for Beyond Fried Chicken over a traditional chicken option, the better it is for the environment. Plant-based options not only have a lower water footprint, but also a lower carbon footprint.
“We couldn’t be prouder to partner with KFC to offer a best-in-class product that not only delivers the delicious experience consumers expect from this iconic chain, but also provides the added benefits of plant-based meat,” Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, said in a statement. “We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide.”
Want to try KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken for yourself? Here’s everything you should know.
What Is Beyond Fried Chicken Made Of?
KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken, developed with Beyond Meat exclusively for KFC, is made using pea protein. It also uses the same “finger lickin’ good” flavors as KFC’s traditional fried chicken, except it’s 100% plant-based.
Beyond Fried Chicken is available as KFC’s first-ever plant-based combo meal, consisting of the chicken nuggets, the Secret Recipe Fries, and a medium drink. Or, you can order it à la carte in six or 12-piece orders. The prices start at $6.99.
The only thing to note: If you’re vegan or vegetarian, KFC says Beyond Fried Chicken isn’t “prepared in a vegan/vegetarian manner,” as the plant-based chicken nuggets are cooked in the same frier as the other menu items.
When and Where Can You Get Beyond Fried Chicken?
Ready to get your hands on these chicken nuggets? Same! They’ll become available nationwide on Monday, January 10th at all KFC restaurants across the U.S.
Right now, KFC says Beyond Fried Chicken will only be available for a “limited time, while supplies last,” so run—don’t walk!—to order a bucket of your own. While the chain still has a lot of changes to make in order to create a more sustainable future, putting a plant-based option on the menu is a great first step.
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