As the nationwide lines, outages, and media frenzy surrounding Popeyes' new fried chicken sandwich have proven, people love fast-food fried chicken. But hot on the heels of the chicken sandwich, its Yum Brand-owned competitor is testing a different hypothesis: Do people want fake fried chicken? KFC has partnered with Beyond Meat to find out.
KFC announced earlier today via press release that it will be testing fried chicken-like nuggets using a Beyond Meat product. The limited test will roll out tomorrow at an Atlanta KFC. The "Beyond Fried Chicken" will be available as both plant-based nuggets and "boneless wings," with items ranging in price from $1.99 to $12.
Though Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have been duking it out over who can best emulate the bloody richness of a beef burger, neither has gotten a plant-based chicken alternative into the nationwide fast-food market until now. Per CNBC's report, KFC will be the first chain to use a Beyond chicken product—especially notable given that Beyond pulled its chicken-like strips from shelves earlier this year for not meeting the company's standards. The news has proven exciting for Beyond: According to Yahoo! Finance, Beyond Meat's stock value has climbed by 5 percent today alone.
Given that products like Burger King's Impossible Whopper have caught flak for being cooked on the same grills as meat burgers—making them unacceptable for many vegans and vegetarians—one might assume a different trajectory for Beyond Fried Chicken. But according to CNBC, that's not so: The Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets will be cooked in the same fryers since they're meant to target the "flexitarian" market instead of strict vegans.
People who want their chicken nuggets to come from actual chickens need not feel threatened; the test is limited and exclusive to one store, for now. After all, Kentucky Fried Beyond Chicken is kind of a mouthful compared to Kentucky Fried Chicken.