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Fast food giant KFC Hong Kong has just launched its first meat-free offerings. Dubbed the “New Era” series, the new products include Alpha Foods’ plant-based nuggets and a burger made with Gardein. It comes shortly after KFC China’s announcement that they are adding Beyond Meat burgers and Cargill-made plant-based fried chicken to its menu. The latest move is yet another sign that the plant-based trend is hitting mainstream consumers in Hong Kong and across Asia.
KFC Hong Kong revealed today that they are adding two new meat-free options to its menu across selected outlets in the city – the New Era Nugget and New Era Burger. The Nuggets are close to price parity, retailing for HK$29 (5 nuggets) compared to KFC’s conventional chicken, which sells for HK$22 per piece (original flavour). The Burger is priced at HK$49 a la carte, versus HK$28.50 for the KFC Flava Roast chicken burger.
It is launched in partnership with Green Monday, the Hong Kong-based group behind the plant-based grocery chain Green Common and vegan restaurant Kind Kitchen, and the distributor of Gardein and Alpha Foods products in Hong Kong, the two alternative protein companies whose products are being used for the New Era menu.
“On this special Green Monday here in Hong Kong, we are thrilled to announce the introduction of plant-based New Era Nuggets and New Era Burger on KFC menu, featuring exciting products from Alpha Foods and Gardein respectively,” said David Yeung, the founder and CEO of Green Monday.
“This milestone launch will without adoubt further ignite the plant-based movement in Asia and globally,” added Yeung.
The burger is made from Gardein’s chick’n patty, which contain soy, wheat, pea protein, organic grains and vegetables. It is topped with dairy cheese and dressing – making it not 100% plant-based – alongside barbecue sauce, fresh lettuce, sliced tomatoes and tortilla chips on a focaccia bun.
Meanwhile, the nuggets are made using Alpha Foods’ plant-based chicken nuggets, which are made with soy and wheat protein, and also come with a barbecue sauce, with each serving containing 12 grams of plant-based protein. Both the meatless nuggets and burger is fried in the the same oil as the rest of KFC’s products, which means that while flexitarians may enjoy the products, they are unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.
The meatless options will now be available at 19 KFC locations in Hong Kong, including some of the most popular shopping and work districts in the city such as Admiralty, Central, Wanchai, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Prince Edward, Tseung Kwan O and Sha Tin.
While there is no official mention of the duration of this New Era menu, according to our sources, KFC Hong Kong is testing the market and should the menu prove popular, they will no doubt extend the partnership.
It isn’t the first time KFC has launched plant-based products in the region, responding to growing mainstream demand for meatless foods. Last month, KFC China, which is operated by nationwide fast food giant Yum China, began rolling out plant-based burgers in partnership with US-based food tech Beyond Meat.
The news followed Yum China’s initial trial with controversial agribusiness giant Cargill to launch plant-based chicken nuggets in select KFC China locations, which the company said presale coupons in the first day sold out within the hour.
In the Netherlands, a Rotterdam branch of KFC went 100% meat-free for a whole week in March by collaborating with Quorn, replacing all menu items with the brand’s vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives.
KFC’s move to introduce meatless options in Hong Kong is a strong indicator that major food industry players are now finding it difficult to ignore the plant-based trend, which has been heightened in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought to the forefront the health, sustainability and animal welfare concerns related to the meat industry.
In a recent poll conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by Hong Kong’s Green Monday, researchers found that a quarter of the Hong Kong’s young consumers are likely to significantly reduce their meat intake as a direct result of the pandemic, and that a record of 34% of the city’s consumers – 2.5 million people – now identify as flexitarian eaters.
A clear indication that F&B must now consider shifting consumer trends to remain relevant, Central’s Jardine House recently welcomed BaseHall, a new dining concept that embraces healthy and plant-centric meals with sustainability at the core of its entire operations.
Disclaimer: KFC Hong Kong have Green Monday stated that the meatless products are fried in the same oil as their regular meat products, and therefore, while made from plant-based ingredients, are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
All images courtesy of KFC Hong Kong, lead image designed by Green Queen Media.