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Two chicken-focussed fast-food chains in Canada have taken the plunge to expand vegan options in their restaurants. KFC and Mary Brown’s have both announced a partnership with animal-free meat producer Lightlife.
KFC Canada will release a meatless popcorn chicken dish for a limited time. The move marks the second time the company has worked with Lightlife. Mary Brown’s will be debuting its first-ever meat-free chicken options in the form of tenders and sandwiches.
KFC x Lightlife
2020 saw KFC Canada launch a Lightlife chicken sandwich. It followed a trial debut the year before that surpassed all expectations. A month’s worth of sandwiches sold in under a day. With undeniable demand, the sandwiches were added to menus throughout the country. Six hundred locations now stock the option. The Lightlife popcorn chicken is being sold for a limited time only. It will be cooked in the same oil as regular menu items, therefore will not be classified as vegan.
KFC Canada is playing catch up with its U.S. counterpart. Last year, company president Kevin Hochman confirmed that demand for plant-based chicken will only increase. As a result, Beyond Meat vegan fried chicken will be available at every U.S. KFC restaurant, beginning today for a limited time.
Mary Brown’s x Lightlife
The release of plant-based chicken tenders and meat-free sandwiches from Mary Brown’s is significant. The chain has approximately 200 stores throughout Canada. Both the tenders and Sidekick Snack Sandwiches will be permanent additions to the menu.
“We’re listening to what Canadians are saying and how their food tastes are changing,” Hadi Chahin, president and Coo of Mary Brown’s said in a statement. “So while chicken is at the heart of our menu, we also want to satisfy the cravings of guests who are looking for delicious plant-based choices.”
Sidekick sandwiches are available in two flavours, with both sauces containing animal products. Similar to KFC, the Lightlife chicken will be cooked in the same oil as regular chicken.
Meat-free chicken causing a stir
Vegan chicken has become a priority for alternative protein developers. As fast-food chains increasingly add it to their rosters, brands are seeking to crack the code to authentic-tasting but cruelty-free products.
Chilean unicorn company NotCo recently announced the development of a full range of chicken products. Using Guiseppe, the proprietary AI system developed in-house, the company is releasing four product lines in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. The U.S. and Canada are expected to follow in quick succession. NotCo claims its vegan chicken taste identical to the real thing but is 100 percent plant-based.
For Veganuary 2022, Burger King U.K. has launched the first fast-food vegan chicken nuggets. In partnership with Unilever’s The Vegetarian Butcher, the nuggets join the Vegan Royal and Plant-Based Whopper on the meat-free menu. It is not yet known if they will become a permanent addition. The nuggets are Vegan Society-certified, as is the Vegan Royale. Burger King came under fire for non-vegan cooking techniques and an egg-based mayo in the Plant-Based Whopper. This was when it was initially launched. It has since been revised to be suitable for all diets.
Lead image courtesy of KFC Canada.