Updated 5 February, 2020. KFC has sold one million vegan chicken burgers since launching them earlier this year. During its trial in 2019, the plant-based burger sold out after just four days and sold 500 percent better than meat-based product launches.
The meat-free sandwich has been renamed the Original Recipe Vegan Burger but is identical to the Imposter Burger that was first trialed last year. It includes vegan mayonnaise, lettuce, and a Quorn chicken fillet coated in KFC’s signature blend of herbs and spices.
The company says selling one million burgers since January 2 is equivalent to one sandwich every three seconds.
The plant-based dish was initially tested in select restaurants around the UK for four weeks. But after unprecedented customer demand, it sold out four days into the trial.
“We knew there were plenty of people who would want to get a taste of the Imposter, but we didn’t anticipate this phenomenal response,” said Victoria Robertson, the senior innovation leader at KFC, to Metro. “We can’t wait to get the Imposter back out in restaurants so vegans can get their finger lickin’ fix.”
According to KFC, in the space of three days, the Imposter Burger’s sales figures were 500 percent higher than any other new burger from the chain. In its Gloucester Road location in London, it’s estimated that one vegan burger was sold per minute.
After the Imposter Burger’s trial, the same stores will test a vegetarian meal called the Southern Fritter Stacker. The mix of vegetables in a crispy coating will be available as a wrap or rice box.
Tony Davison, Head of Global Foodservice & QSR at Quorn, commented before the launch of the Imposter Burger, “A vegan KFC? We couldn’t believe it either.”
“But we’ve done it – working with KFC we’ve created a bespoke Quorn fillet that does the Colonel’s recipe justice,” said Davison. “We have no doubt that KFC fans are going to love the modern take on a finger lickin’ favourite.”
BBC One host Nisha Katona taste-tested the product in the KFC UK development kitchen last month. She was the first person not affiliated with the company to try the vegan chicken.
She tweeted: “Oh my heaven! On a dream job today – filming for the BBC One Show with exclusive access to the actual KFC headquarters development kitchen. Also I was the first member of the public to taste the new vegan chicken burger. This to me is actually living the dream.”
Katona told a Twitter follower that the new vegan burger is “brilliant,” when asked how it tasted. “Oh my word – brilliant product – they are still working in [sic] it but truly great start.”
KFC’s Vegan Options
The burger isn’t the chain’s first vegan option. KFC Canada locations currently offer two vegan chicken sandwiches — an original and a spicy version. The KFC Canada website tells customers that if they want it vegan, they need to order without the mayonnaise.
Last year KFC’s Vietnam locations also added two vegan options — a chicken-style sandwich and a rice bowl. The sandwich featured a vegan grilled chicken patty “harmoniously blended with natural ingredients.” The rice bowl featured shredded vegan chicken with fried and white rice, seaweed, and salad greens.
KFC Menu Overhaul
KFC previously announced that it was developing more meat-free options in a bid to overhaul its menu. But the chain was hesitant to confirm that vegan chicken was indeed part of that plan. The company announced the addition of healthier sides and taking steps to reduce sodium and calorie count by 20 percent.
In early 2019, the chain confirmed it would begin trialing vegan options in the UK. “A bean patty would not cut the mustard as that lets down vegans,” innovations director Jack Hinchcliffe told the Telegraph.
“For us it’s about taking the amazing tastes of KFC and offering those in a vegetarian or vegan alternative.”
“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,” Victoria Robertson, Head of Food Innovation for KFC UK, told the Mirror.
“We’ve done it before, though – the success of our Riceboxes has shown that our fans will go for lighter options from us,” she continued. “That said, we know any new menu and recipe changes will have to be just as tasty as today.”
The £2.99 vegan Original Recipe Vegan Burger is available at stores throughout the UK and Ireland, though certain restaurants will not be stocking the burger.