KFC Plans to Test Plant-Based Chicken

Vegetarians may finally get a taste of KFC’s famous chicken.

The United Kingdom and Ireland units of the company announced their plans of to test a vegetarian equivalent of their chicken later this year. If successful, it could launch the product in 2019.

This option is part of a plan to reduce calories by 20 percent per serving by 2025. It is believed to be the first time a major fast-food chain is putting fake chicken on the menu.

“We always look to respond to the latest changes in lifestyle and dining habits of our customers and a key part of that for our business in the UK is offering lighter options and more choice,” the company said. “That’s why we’re looking into vegetarian options that would offer the great taste of KFC to new and existing customers who are changing their dining habits.”

The move stems from a growing trend in Europe and the United States as study shows more people want to have healthier lifestyles and to know what’s in their food. Consumers increasingly seek out organic and less-processed foods, while those with concerns about antibiotics in meat and poultry and animal welfare are turning to plant-based alternatives.

Some 14 percent of U.S. consumers, or 43 million people, regularly use plant-based alternatives to traditional foods, such as almond milk, tofu and veggie burgers, according to research firm NPD Group.

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