Fried chicken fast-food restaurant KFC is partnering with Beyond Meat to bring meatless fried chicken to stores in Tennessee and North Carolina, according to a report by Reuters.
Many brands are adding meatless products to their menus, as customers are increasingly seeking plant-based options when they go out to eat.
This is the first time that meatless “chicken” will be offered. Every piece of imitation meat is about 80 calories. Beyond Meat Chief Executive Ethan Brown said it’s important to have a texture that feels and looks like real chicken, because that’s what people expect.
The meat will be tested for a few months in stores throughout Nashville, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina. KFC said it will use data collected from the test to determine whether it will expand the meatless product nationally.
KFC has more than 23,000 stores in over 140 countries. It started as a roadside restaurant founded by Colonel Harland Sanders in the 1940s.
If the tie-up is successful, it could help Beyond Meat grow its brand around the world. The company’s products are sold in Asia, but it aims to expand into China, where KFC is the No. 1 fast-food restaurant.
Shares in Yum! Brands went up by 1.5 percent on the news. Beyond Meat shares went up 3 percent, even as the news broke that Tim Hortons would no longer be using the company’s products.
The company expects that the meatless products will be very popular; KFC did a one-day test in Atlanta and the entire stock sold out. Many companies in the industry, which is expected to be worth $140 billion within the next decade, have trouble keeping product in stock. “Our intention is to not run out,” said Andrea Zahumensky, KFC’s chief marketing officer.