In Focus

Amid the strengthening vegan debate, KFC appeals to both sides

The fried chicken chain is taking a unique approach to the meat versus vegan argument.

As growing demand for vegan and vegetarian options sweeps the QSR industry worldwide, major players have introduced more inclusive menu offerings in a bid to join the bandwagon.

In March, Pizza Hut introduced a vegan pizza menu to all its outlets in the UK. More recently, Subway made headlines as it rolled out the national launch of its first ever Vegan sub and salad, alongside an integrated marketing campaign across PR, social media and advertising. Even Burger King has announced its plans to launch vegan Whoppers in partnership with meat-alternative company Impossible Foods in the U.S.

It would seem that meat all across the industry was falling out of favour. It was to be expected that other brands followed suit. 

So when Plant Based News reported that Nisha Katona, known TV presenter and CEO of Indian restaurant chain Mowgli, was among the first to try KFC’s ‘vegan chicken burger’, it was not altogether surprising. After all, it was already revealed that the global fried chicken giant was currently in the process of working on both vegetarian and vegan options earlier this year.

What was surprising, however, was the brand’s unexpected launch of its ‘I Love You Bacon Burger’. As if to placate diners who are increasingly feeling alienated by the sudden abundance of meat-free alternatives like aubergines, flax seeds, and tofu, KFC unveiled a new limited edition burger that seemed to celebrate meat.

“Let’s face it, we’ve timed this burger badly. We’re launching the I Love You Bacon Burger in a year when unprecedented numbers of people are eschewing meat and embracing the aubergine. But for those bacon lovers that remain, this one’s for you. It’s so irresistibly tasty – try one before you turn vegan,” KFC UK senior brand manager Marcus Buck said.

The I Love You Bacon Burger is made with an Original Recipe chicken fillet joined by two rashers of smoky, oven-cooked bacon, topped with creamy Baconnaise and cushioned on a bed of sweet Bacon Lovers’ Relish and topped with double cheese and a brioche bun.

The limited edition burger launches in KFC restaurants nationwide from Monday 6th May for six weeks only, priced from £5.39 for the burger or from £6.39 for a meal. It’ll also be available for delivery exclusively on the Just Eat app.

Whether the new offering is a promise that meat will never be edged out of prominence in the fried chicken chain’s menus, or whether it is simply part of meat’s last celebratory hurrah, KFC did not say.

Photo credit: KFC

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