KFC Launching Vegetarian Chicken and Healthier Sides in UK in a Bid to Slash Calories
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Fast food chicken chain KFC says it will overhaul its menu to feature healthier options, including trialing a vegetarian option in the UK later this year.

The chain, known for its deep-fried chicken and fries, is aiming to reduce its entire menu’s calories by 20 percent per serving by 2025. The revamped menu will include healthier options, and the chain says it will offer free healthier sides if customers choose those instead of fries. It will also include low-calorie or zero-calorie drinks to help curb calorie intake.

By 2020, the company plan to have more lunch and dinner options available under 600 calories, in line with Public Health England’s recent campaign,” the Mirror reports.

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“As obesity crisis rumbles on fast food chain say they want customers to reach their five-a-day and they will soon trial a vegetarian alternative to chicken.”

Public Health England is hoping people will adhere to a calorie schedule of 400 for breakfast and 600 each for lunch and dinner along with healthier snacks. KFC is hoping it can align its offerings within that range.

“We know people are more passionate than ever about eating well, and we face a big challenge in shifting their perceptions of what we offer,” said Victoria Robertson Head of Food Innovation for KFC UK.

Temple of Seitan Chicken

“We’ve done it before, though – the success of our Riceboxes has shown that our fans will go for lighter options from us.

“That said, we know any new menu and recipe changes will have to be just as tasty as today.”

KFC will also work on what it’s calling a “behavioral change program” designed to help consumers make healthier choices. But a growing number of consumers in the UK are already choosing healthier options. Vegan food, in particular, is on the rise with a number of vegan chicken options available at restaurants across the region such as the popular Temple of Seitan. But the biggest game-changer may be the UK’s supermarket leader, Tesco. Earlier this year it launched its own line of vegan ready-meals, Wicked Kitchen, created by Wicked Healthy chefs Chad and Derek Sarno. Tesco says it has already sold more than 1.75 million of the plant-based meals throughout 600 stores since launching in January.

A growing number of mainstream restaurant chains are creating healthier menu options that cater to the growing demand for vegan food. TGI Fridays in the U.S. is serving the popular Beyond Burger, and in the UK it recently launched a comprehensive vegan menu. White Castle and Shake Shack both recently announced the launch of vegan burgers in the U.S., and in Australia, Domino’s now offers a permanent vegan pizza menu featuring Follow Your Heart cheese.

Earlier this year KFC restaurants in the UK faced a chicken shortage when a supplier failed to deliver to its 900 stores, and vegan chicken manufacturer Quorn offered its products in the interim, “let us know if we can share some Quorn Crispy Nuggets for a meat-free alternative for your customers!” the brand asked on Twitter.

While the source of KFC’s new vegetarian chicken hasn’t been identified Quorn’s joke appears to at least have some truth in it.

“This is about providing choice,” said Roberston, “and offering delicious, signature KFC taste that just happens to be lighter.”