Spare a thought for the vegetarian at KFC, reluctantly eating chips after a night out as their friends tuck into a Six Piece Hot Wing Meal. They stare hungrily at the tasty, tasty chicken; a voice in their head compelling them to try a bite, just one small bite. No one needs to ever know, they think, before their friends start wondering why they’ve been silent for 15 minutes and are they crying?
Such scenes of veggie torture may soon be a thing of the past: KFC is working on a recipe for vegetarian fried chicken. *Sobs uncontrollably*
According to Food Beast, the fast food chain is developing a fake chicken item as a lower-calorie alternative to its signature dish. While the product is still in its early stages, the recipe is said to use the same iconic "11 herbs and spices" mix as KFC’s regular chicken, and could be launched in the UK as early as 2019.
"We are looking into vegetarian options [...] in response to the latest changes in lifestyle and dining habits of our fans," a KFC spokesperson told MUNCHIES. "The development of the recipe is still in its very early stages and so the options we’re exploring in our kitchen are still top secret. Once we’ve perfected the recipe, we’re aiming to test with customers this year, and if all goes well, we hope to launch a new vegetarian option in 2019."
KFC has found itself at the centre of animal cruelty controversies many times over the years, so the introduction of a meat-free alternative is sure to be welcomed by vegans and vegetarians. Even animal rights charity PETA is on board—kinda.
"We applaud any move to replace chicken flesh with animal-friendly foods, and if KFC's forthcoming vegetarian chicken is also suitable for vegans, the chain will join the countless savvy eateries clamouring to meet the ever-increasing demand for vegan foods," Dawn Carr, director of vegan corporate projects at PETA told MUNCHIES. "From soya beef to seitan chicken, there are now countless tasty, cruelty-free foods readily available, and any business not catering to this booming market is missing the boat. Vegan chicken at KFC? That would be clucking marvellous."
KFC’s veggie chicken comes as a response to a new Public Health England campaign that calls for food producers to reduce the number of calories in their products. By 2020, the chain hopes to have created a range of items under 600 calories and, in the next seven years, aims to reduce the number of calories across its menu by 20 percent.
This might be good news for vegetarians and health campaigners, but chicken-eaters have had a turbulent year with KFC. In February, the chain had to close hundreds of outposts after supply chain issues meant it ran out of chicken. About two weeks later, it ran out of gravy.
KFC, we forgive you for your past transgressions. The taste of redemption is sweet—and vegetarian.