SHANGHAI — Kentucky Fried Chicken China, operated by Yum China Holdings Inc. has become one of the first national Western QSR (quick service restaurant) brands to introduce a plant-based meat product to China. For a limited test period, which occurred April 28-30, KFC Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets debuted at three participating stores in three cities across China.
During the test period, KFC customers in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen had the opportunity to sample the new KFC Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets in-store. Pre-sale coupons were required for participating in the test and more than 7,000 were purchased on the KFC app. The enthusiasm of KFC customers for the test was clear and in Shanghai, pre-sale coupons for the first day sold out within one hour, the company noted. To convey the plant-based concept of the product, tuning in to vitality and a more sustainable lifestyle, participating stores were given a green makeover throughout the test period. KFC invited customers to share their feedback on the new product in order to optimize flavors and processes and help assess the potential for a larger scale rollout in the future.
"We are committed to embracing innovation and continue to delight and surprise our customers with tasty products," said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. "The test of KFC's Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets caters to the growing market in China for delicious alternative meat options on the go. We believe that testing the plant-based chicken concept with one of our most iconic products will take this increasingly popular meatless trend to a new level."
KFC partnered with Cargill to test the plant-based nuggets in China, benefitting from their global supply chain resources and extensive experience in the field of plant-based meat production. The nuggets include high-quality protein such as soy, wheat, and special pea, which help create a taste that is as close as possible to real chicken. After being cooked, KFC's famous crispy golden layer is added, perfected for Chinese palates with a small amount of locally sourced water chestnut to make the nuggets juicer, the company said.
Plant-based meat products, using plant protein as the raw material, have become an increasingly popular concept around the world, KFC added. In August 2019, KFC US attracted wide attention when it became the first national U.S. QSR brand to test plant-based chicken during a limited release at a KFC store in Atlanta. As one of the first Western QSR brands to introduce a plant-based meat product to China, the KFC Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets test builds on Yum China's long track record of innovation, which has included new and exciting menu options across various dayparts and categories, KFC said.