Any restaurant with "fried chicken" in its name probably doesn't see many vegetarian customers. KFC wants to change that.
The fast food giant probably won’t rebrand itself as "Kentucky Fried Chickpeas" anytime soon, but it's in the process of developing vegetarian fried "chicken" in an effort to add healthier items to its menu, Market Watch reports.
The faux meat will be vegetable-based, but KFC is still in the early stages of testing out different "top-secret" recipes. The company aims to launch the product in the UK in 2019, and it's part of a larger plan to reduce the calories of menu items (per serving) by 20 percent over the next seven years.
The plan also aligns with Britain's new initiative to encourage citizens to consume fewer calories while also challenging the food industry to make its foods less calorific, according to The New York Times. KFC hasn't said whether the chicken substitute would eventually be rolled out globally.
KFC follows in the footsteps of McDonald's, which unveiled the McVegan burger in Finland and Sweden last December. Vegetarian-friendly frozen food companies have also been successful, with Beyond Meat (backed by Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio) being one notable example.
The company also follows a larger trend away from meat. Americans spent $698.6 million on meat substitutes last year—a 25.6 percent increase from 2012, according to Euromonitor International. In Britain, consumers spent 56.2 percent more on meat substitutes in 2017 than they did in 2012.
[h/t Market Watch]