Beyond Fried Ch'kn : The KFC Controversy
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
January 10th, 2022 KFC debuted their new Beyond Fried Chicken at (almost) all of their US locations. Made from soy and wheat proteins, the product is 100% plant based, but there is much controversy over whether they should be considered vegan. As a vegan of 16 years, here's my opinion.
The ingredients are 100% vegan. This may be a turn off for 'omnivores' but a huge win for the plant based community. Generally speaking, most vegans don't eat meat in support of ending animal cruelty- not because they don't like the taste.
They use the same oil to fry chicken and plant based chicken. This is where the big debate is- because it technically cross-contaminates with chicken oils. Even though you may not be eating a chicken directly, you end up ingesting oils from other chicken products fried in the same place.
Great gateway for omnivores looking to try plant-based for the first time. I went to KFC with two of my girlfriends that are not vegan at all. One had never even tried a plant based product her whole life! The fact that they were open-minded enough to try 'plant based chicken' was a big win in my book. The fact that they actually liked it was an even bigger win.
This was my first time at a KFC in almost 20 years. Although I wouldn't eat this product regularly because of the cross-contamination, I definitely wanted to show my support for KFC's first meat-free, dairy-free product. Instead of never going to KFC, they got me in the door to try it- a big win for them.
Yes, I wish there was no cross-contamination. If it was totally vegan I'd be there everyday - those nuggets were absolutely amazing! They also don't have any vegan sauces aside from ketchup. Even the dairy-free BBQ contains honey (which is usually a no-go for vegans).
All things considered, I count this as a win for the animals, a win for the customers, and a (mostly) win for KFC. Even in this short time, I've been hearing that locations are ordering more plant-based chicken than regular chicken. That means less supply and demand for chickens, which means saving more chickens lives, which ultimately is what vegans are fighting for.
Have you tried them? What are your thoughts on KFC's new plant based option?