This week, fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) debuted the VFC—a vegan fried chick’n bucket that comes with a side of four dairy-free buttermilk biscuits and coleslaw made with Vegenaise. The VFC chick’n—which is cooked in a separate fryer and sells for $10—is made with a newly reformulated “12 herbs and spices” blend that includes nutritional yeast and is available in Original Recipe and yuba-wrapped Extra Crispy varieties. Each piece of dark meat vegan chick’n features a wooden straw in place of a bone, which can be used to sip KFC’s three new stevia-sweetened beverages. Starting this week, the chain will also discontinue its honey-based dipping sauce and introduce an agave alternative in its place at all United States locations. KFC Communications Director Miranda Schleefenhouse told VegNews the new menu items are inspired by London-based eatery Temple of Seitan, which has successfully captured millennial consumers with its vegan fried chicken. “We have partnered with Tyson Foods as the sole supplier of all of our new ‘chick’n’ products as we believe the meat company will soon be at the forefront of providing meat-free alternatives,” Schleefenhouse said, before revealing that a chicken-free version of the KFC “Double Down” is being developed at the brand’s test kitchen in Louisville. “The vegan Double Down is finger-lickin’ better than the original,” Schleefenshouse promised. Aaron Feathers, a representative of the National Chicken Council, believes the VFC will not be welcomed by consumers. “Our research shows that KFC customers do not eat deep-fried vegetables or whatever this ‘chik’n’ abomination claims to be,” Feathers said. “When presented with a zucchini, longtime KFC customer Justin Thyme tossed it to the ground and poetically exclaimed, ‘Give me corpses or give me death!’” KFC CEO Roger Eaton responded, stating, “Feathers is ill-informed, at best. We have received rave reviews for our new vegan offering from focus-group participants and are excited to pivot the brand in a more modern direction.” Eaton said that the vegan bucket will also serve as a sales safety net should KFC ever run out of chicken, as it did in United Kingdom locations earlier this year. “It is also nice to offer customers who find bird beaks and feathers in their chicken meals an alternative that we can totally guarantee contains no reality check-inducing animal parts,” Eaton said. KFC will promote its new vegan bucket via a national television campaign throughout May with Bernie Sanders (outfitted as Colonel Sanders) as its celebrity spokesperson. The VFC is currently available in select KFC locations in Los Angeles, Nashville, and North Carolina (the chicken capital of the United States), with a national roll out planned for July 1, 2018.
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