CHINA – The Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) China, operated by Yum China Holdings, is piloting its plant-based chicken nuggets in China, becoming one of the first national Western QSR brands to introduce plant-based meat products to the market.

For a limited test period, between April 28-30, KFC revealed that it will debut its plant-based chicken nuggets at three participating stores in three Tier 1 cities across China; Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

During the test period, the fast food chain operator said that customers will sample the new KFC plant-based chicken nuggets in-store, at a special price of RMB 1.99 for five pieces.

Pre-sale coupons are required for participating in the test and over 7,000 were purchased on the KFC APP between April 20-23, according to the company.

KFC noted that the enthusiasm of customers for the upcoming test is clear and in Shanghai, pre-sale coupons for the first day sold out within one hour.

To convey the plant-based concept of the product, tuning into vitality and a more sustainable lifestyle, the QSR brand noted that participating stores will be given a green makeover throughout the test period.

The brand expects customers’ feedback from the pilot of the new product to be instrumental in optimizing flavors and processes and help assess the potential for a larger scale rollout in the future.

“We are committed to embracing innovation and continue to delight and surprise our customers with tasty products,” said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China.

“The test of KFC’s Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets caters to the growing market in China for delicious alternative meat options on the go.

“We believe that testing the plant-based chicken concept with one of our most iconic products will take this increasingly popular meatless trend to a new level.”

KFC is partnering with Cargill to test KFC Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets in China, benefitting from their global supply chain resources and experience in the field of plant-based meat production.

The KFC plant-based chicken nuggets include protein providing ingredient such as soy, wheat, and special pea, which help create a taste that is as close as possible to real chicken.

After being cooked, the company explains that a crispy golden layer is added, perfected for Chinese palates with a small amount of locally sourced water chestnut to make the offering “ juicer and more delicious.”

With this test, KFC China joins its global counterpart, Beyond Meat, in helping to popularize meat alternatives. Beyond Meat has also secured a deal with Starbucks to sell its plant-based meat in China.

In August 2019, KFC US attracted wide attention when it became the first national U.S. QSR brand to test plant-based chicken during a limited release at a KFC store in Atlanta.