Is KFC's rollout of Beyond Meat's chicken a knockout in the fight for veggie fast food?



On Tuesday Beyond Meat and KFC announced a massive rollout of their fried chicken partnership to 4,000 restaurants in the U.S.


It's the largest test yet for Beyond Meat's push to move beyond fast food burgers and sausage and into selling a variety of meatless meat products to America's top fast food chains.


Starting Monday, January 10 (and while supplies last) KFC restaurants across the U.S. will be selling Beyond Fried Chicken.


Developed exclusively for KFC, the new Beyond Fried Chicken offering will build a partnership that the two companies began in 2019 as part of a limited test run in Atlanta.


The first launch sold out in five hours, the company said. A second test in 2020 came to restaurants in Nashville, Charlotte and Southern California.


“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,” said Ethan Brown, the founder and chief executive of Beyond Meat. “We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide.”


Prices for the new offering will start at $6.99 and will vary by location.


This is only the latest feather in the cap for Beyond Meat, which is quickly winging its way to the top of the heap of fast food partnerships for plant-based proteins.


Last year, the company launched the first few pilots of its McPlant sandwich in select locations scattered through California, Iowa, Louisiana and Texas.


That test and the prize that comes with a deal from perhaps the largest fast food company in the world can't be overstated. And Beyond Meat also has deals providing menu items to other members of the Yum! Brands family aside from KFC. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell also have Beyond items on their menu.


Last year also saw Burger King launch its first test of plant-based nuggets through is ongoing collaboration with Impossible Foods. And Impossible Foods is taking the ghost kitchen and pop-up food shop trend to heart. In December, the plant-based protein maker opened up its own quick-serve restaurants in partnership with hot dog chain, Dog Haus.


Still, Beyond has managed to seize two of the crown jewels in the world's fast food market. It's a big step forward for the company and potentially a knockout in the fight for plant-based dominance in the fast food business. (Let's see who can win over Popeye's, Bojangles, and... the (debatable) king of the chicken coop Chik-Fil-A.)






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