Everyone knows KFC. Their “finger lickin’ good” fried chicken has been a staple in American households since 1952. Just last weekend my husband commented on their addicting biscuits and mashed potatoes. I responded that I haven’t eaten KFC since I was a kid, and likely never would.
However, on Monday KFC officially joined the race to win over plant-based consumers by announcing they would be testing Beyond Meat Fried Chicken at one of their Atlanta restaurants. And on Tuesday, the restaurant sold out of the “chicken” in only one day. As the box says, “It’s still finger-lickin’ good”.
If restaurants are racing to win the vegetarian’s dollar, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are racing to win over the food chains. KFC’s announcement came just two weeks after Burger King rolled out the Impossible Whopper at restaurants nationwide. Del Taco also announced its partnership with Beyond Meat back in June.
Vegan Inclusion or Vegan Take-over
This is all fantastic news for the 7.3 Million Americans who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, and this number continues to grow. In fact, the Economist called 2019 the “Year of the Vegan.”
A demographic used to being mocked for their choice to avoid all animal products are now speaking with their wallets. The Vegan Food Industry is worth $4.5 Billion, and plant-based meat specifically is estimated at $800 Million and growing.
While Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are racing for the exclusivity with fast-food restaurants. Similarly, the plant-based foods are competing for real estate in the frozen food section at grocers. Brands like Morning Star, Gardein, and Field Roast are among the growing list of plant-based options.
What does this mean for the future?
Personally, I did not need plant-based meat alternatives to stop eating meat. That said, I do appreciate all the options and incorporate many of the brands mentioned in our meals. My husband was different. Having meat-like ingredients made it easier for him to give up meat.
As we become educated about animal rights, the global impact of cattle ranching, and the health benefits of a plant-forward diet having plant-based options are necessary to support the transition.
Also see: Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $5 Million to Amazon Rainforest
What do you think? Does having more plant-based meat alternatives make it easier to go vegan or vegetarian? Will more people make the transition because there are fast food options? Or are restaurants finally catering to a growing demographic?