There's an old urban myth that Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its brand name to KFC because the meat it sourced its food from was somehow genetically altered to the point it could technically no longer be called chicken.
This is silly, of course, since KFC's menu offers several types of chicken and calls it as much. But now the quick service (what we used to call "fast food") chain is testing out some new offerings that lend a bit of truth to those old rumors.
Well, sort of.
KFC is jumping on the plant-based meat bandwagon with a one-off test of Beyond Fried Chicken at a single Atlanta-area restaurant on Tuesday.
Imagine that: The chain once accused of serving "mutant chickens" has leaped all the way to the other end of the spectrum and gone green.
The chicken chain joins big names like Burger King and Subway in offering plant-based meats on their menus, although it should be noted the former has been recently, uh, em-broiled in a bit of a controversy with how they prepare their Impossible Whoppers.
The Cobb Parkway KFC restaurant near SunTrust Park in Atlanta (2637 Cobb Pkwy South East, Smyrna, Ga.) will be offering free samples of Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets and boneless wings from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on August 27 only. Full meals of the fake meat will also be for sale at the single location.
KFC partnered for the test with Beyond Meat, which has been riding the plant-based craze this year with rapid expansion into supermarkets nationwide and a stock price that has more than doubled since its May initial public offering.
It's interesting that KFC is more tentative to dip its toes in the meat-free waters than other quick serve chains.
Brands like Quorn and Morningstar have been offering meatless chicken nuggets that taste like the real thing in the freezer section of grocery stores for years. The "perfection" of the plant-based burger that tastes and feels more like beef is a much more recent development, yet Burger King and Subway have been quick to roll out their fake beef options.
Perhaps KFC is still reeling from the old rumors about using mutant chickens, which date back to the early 90s. Or maybe, when it comes to the chicken business, it's better to let new ideas incubate a little longer.