New Vegan Options In The Fast Food Industry

Ashley Donahue, Reporter

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has recently partnered with Beyond Meat to launch plant-based chicken, and non-meat eaters couldn’t be more thrilled. 

Beyond Meat is a meat substitution brand that makes it’s products entirely out of materials derived from plants. A few of the major ingredients include water, pea protein isolate, refined coconut oil, and expeller-pressed canola oil. 

Currently, the only Beyond Meat products that KFC offers are the tenders boxes. 

The KFC corporation put the tenders through trial runs in big cities such as Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte in 2019. Due to the overwhelming interest in the product, the “chicken” made its debut to all United States KFC locations on January 10. 

When polling a group of 52 students, 40% of them responded that they would be interested in trying the KFC Beyond Meat. On the contrary, 60% would not be open to trying the product. 

“I wouldn’t buy it, I feel like it would be more expensive. I’m not vegan, I have other options” said sophomore Margo Channel. 

From those who have tried them, there are mixed reviews. 

Some sources prefer the plant-based nuggets over real chicken, such as Emily Heil from The Washington Post. In her review, she said “I actually prefer this to the fluffier or pastier interiors of many a faux (or even real) chicken nugget — though not everyone might agree, and one woman’s toothsome is another’s rubbery.”

On the other hand, some sources, like Mass Live , aren’t too sure how to feel about them. “Even after eating a whole box of these, I could never get used to how tough they were on the inside. It’s like the nugget slams the brakes in your mouth every time you try to take a bite. Taste-wise, it’s a pretty generic block of protein that goes down like a chunk of denser, grittier tofu,” said Nick O’Malley from Mass Live

KFC isn’t the only restaurant who have been expanding their plant-based menu. Chipotle is another restaurant that has a wide range of vegan options. 

Chipotle has introduced a meat substitution on January 3rd called chorizo. Chorizo is made up of pea protein, tomato paste, crushed garlic, and many other nutritious ingredients. 

A not-so-new vegan meat substitution at Chipotle are sofritas, a yummy combination of shredded tofu and various spices. 

Even people on a non-plant based diet adore Chipotle’s sofritas. 

“Sofritas are the vegetarian option that everyone, no matter their meat preferences, should try on their next Chipotle trip,” said Suril Butala from University of Michigan.