KFC plans to introduce a faux meat alternative to its original chicken recipe in its aim to provide options to people with changing dining habits.
The chain announces a plan to test the new recipe to its customers within this year. If trials turn out well, KFC will initially launch a new vegetarian option in 2019 in the United Kingdom.
If successful, KFC is touted to be the very first among the big fast-food chains to offer faux chicken meat on its menu.
KFC's New Recipe
The initiative may come as a surprise for lovers of KFC's original chicken recipe. However, the company said the initiative is its way of accommodating the growing change in lifestyle and dining preferences of its existing patrons. Through the plan, the chain also hopes to welcome new customers from the growing vegetarian population.
While the new recipe is still in its developmental stage, KFC assures patrons that it will not change its famous secret blend of 11 herbs and spices as passed on by Colonel Harland David Sanders.
Victoria Robertson, a nutritionist, and head of food innovation of KFC UK and Ireland explained that KFC recognized how people are becoming more passionate about healthy eating habits. She admitted that KFC is facing a huge challenge of convincing people that it can offer healthy alternatives on top of assuring its fan base that its recipe will be as good as what they have gotten used to.
"It's a tricky challenge, because our fans absolutely love our Original Recipe chicken, and we won't be changing the Colonel's secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices," Robertson said.
"This is about providing choice, and offering delicious, signature KFC taste that just happens to be lighter," she explained.
As of press time, KFC in the United States has yet to announce similar plans.
Public Health England's Health Campaign
Ultimately, KFC's initiative is targeted toward providing food options under 600 calories in accordance to a health campaign announced by Public Health England in March.
As part of the UK government's plan to curb childhood and adult obesity in the country, PHE announced a challenge for the food industry to reduce the calories in their products by 20 percent by 2024.
It suggested that food chains change the recipe of their products, reduce the portion size, and encourage their customers to opt for lower calorie products. The health drive includes establishments that offer pizzas, ready meals, meat products, and other savory snacks.
In due course, PHE is aiming for UK adults to consume as little as 400 calories at breakfast and 600 calories for lunch and dinner.