(NEXSTAR) – KFC’s new Beyond Fried Chicken is coming to restaurants across the country — but it may not be suitable for customers seeking a vegan or vegetarian option.
On Wednesday, Jan. 5, KFC and Beyond Meat announced the nationwide rollout of plant-based Beyond Fried Chicken, to be available at participating KFC locations as of Monday, Jan. 10 while supplies last. However, the new offering, which is made with plant-based ingredients, will not be “prepared in a vegan/vegetarian manner,” according to the press release.
More specifically, the new Beyond Fried Chicken will be cooked in shared fryers in the chain’s kitchens, a representative for the chain confirmed to WFXR’s parent company, Nexstar.
KFC’s new Beyond Fried Chicken, meanwhile, was said to be the first plant-based chicken option to be served at any U.S. quick-service restaurant upon its debut in August 2019, during early tests in Atlanta. The following year, KFC’s plant-based chicken was tested in Nashville, Charlotte and Southern California.
The latest iteration was developed exclusively for KFC in partnership with Beyond Meat.
“The mission from day one was simple — make the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken from plants,” said Kevin Hochman, the president of KFC U.S., in Wednesday’s press release. “And now over two years later we can say, ‘mission accomplished.’”
KFC’s new Beyond Fried Chicken will be available at U.S. restaurants as of Jan. 10, though “availability and participation may vary,” KFC said.
Customers can order Beyond Fried Chicken à la carte or in six-piece or 12-piece orders, or as part of a combo meal.
Vegans or vegetarians concerned about cross-contamination with meat products will not be able to request that their orders be cooked in a separate fryer “at this time,” according to a KFC representative.
News of KFC’s latest item (and its preparation methods) comes more than two years after Burger King ran into a similar issue upon the debut of its plant-based Impossible Whoppers. The burgers, developed in partnership with Impossible Foods, were cooked on the same broilers used to prepare beef, leading one vegan customer to seek a class-action lawsuit in 2019 for what he felt were “deceptive” practices.
Burger King, however, has included language on its website that indicated the Impossible Whoppers were cooked alongside beef on the broilers. Shortly after the item’s debut in 2019, the chain had also suggested that guests request their plant-based Whoppers be cooked via a “non-broiler method” to eliminate cross-contamination.