Plant-based protein is seeing increased demand by consumers. In fact, by 2023, the US meat-substitute retail market could potentially reach $2.5 billion (compared to $1.4 billion last year) according to Euromonitor International. Naturally, this is causing many of the world’s largest fast food chains to adapt to changing requests. For example, Burger King recently partnered with Impossible Foods to create the Impossible Whopper, which will be available in all US locations by the end of this year. Other fast food chains have also joined in on the plant-based trend, including Del Taco, Subway, White Castle, and most recently, Little Caesars.
Now, Kentucky Fried Chicken is taking an interest. While there are not many plant-based proteins available that represent chicken in taste, smell and texture, KFC is ready to explore the opportunity once that time comes.
In an interview with CNN Business, Kevin Hochman– President of KFC– said, "We don't see chicken as the big trend right now. But we are definitely looking at it in earnest and meeting with the big suppliers of alternative proteins to understand the market and where it's headed."
While no plans are set and Kentucky Fried Chicken is not as quick to jump on the plant-based trend as other companies, it is still open to the possibilities. In addition to being quoted as saying "Never say never," Hochman told Business Insider that he is planning to meet “with some of the big guys” to hopefully find out “how alternative protein looks in chicken.”
This open minded type of thinking is likely what helped increase Burger King's traffic 18 percent since its introduction of the Impossible Whopper, an interesting contrast to a statement to Fortune magazine from Arby's President Robert Lynch who stated that Arby's will never introduce an alternative meat product unless he is fired first.