UK’s New Vegan Fried Chicken Brand Comes to the US to Help KFC Level Up
The UK’s new vegan chicken brand, VFC, has just made its US debut. Founded in 2020, the brand is entering the restaurant industry in the United States with three products: Chick * n Filets, Chick * n Bites and Popcorn Chick * n. Vegan Fried Chicken features a seitan base covered in a crispy cornflake coating that mimics traditional Southern fried chicken, but without the need to slaughter animals. VFC products are available to US foodservice operators in 22-pound boxes.
“We are excited to enter the US foodservice market,” VFC co-founder Matthew Glover said in a statement. “Since our launch in the UK just last year, we have grown steadily with huge demand from retailers and restaurants, with increased interest from over 50 other countries. It shows that we have a brand and a product that people really love, and that we are ready to take it up a notch.
VFC’s expansion into the United States will begin with foodservice operators on the West Coast and then expand nationwide before the brand enters retailing in the United States.
“The United States gave the world KFC, and we would like to reciprocate with VFC, a more animal and planet friendly alternative. “
-Co-founder of VFC Matthew Glover
Vegan fried chicken with a mission
Prior to launching VFC, Glover founded the vegan campaign Veganuary with his wife Jane Land in 2014 and the campaign has grown into a global phenomenon in recent years. The new VFC brand is a collaborative effort between Glover (who is also behind investment firm Veg Capital) and restaurateur Adam Lyons and was conceptualized after a visit to an industrial chicken farm. As much as it is a food company, VFC is also a form of protest against the animal farming industry, which slaughter more than 50 billion chickens for food each year.
Although VFC is less than a year old, it has already expanded its distribution outside the UK to the Netherlands and Spain. To have a bigger impact, VFC, which raised £ 2.5million ($ 3.4million) in seed funding earlier this year, continues its efforts to expand into North America with a launch in the Canadian foodservice and retail sector led by distributor Vegan Foods Wholesale.
“Our interest in partnering with VFC is not just a business decision, it is more about being part of VFC’s ethics and sharing its vision to end animal suffering and abuse in the world. ‘global scale,’ Gaynor Fletcher, vice president of sales at Vegan Foods Wholesale, said. “We applaud VFC’s mission to remove animals from an unfair and unevolved food system and we feel privileged to work with a brand. [that is] unabashedly in his intention to end factory farming.
KFC Vegan Fried Chicken
VFC is expanding globally at an opportune time. While the idea for vegan fried chicken at KFC was unknown a few years ago, the chain is slowly evolving to meet consumer demand for plant-based alternatives. KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands, worked with Beyond Meat on a multi-year partnership to introduce plant-based alternatives to its portfolio of fast food chains, which also include Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. In the United States, the partnership resulted in a limited launch of Beyond Fried Chicken in one location in Atlanta in 2019, the success of which put vegan fried chicken on the menu for a limited time in other locations in 2020.
While the partnership has yet to result in a nationwide rollout of Beyond Fried Chicken, KFC U.S. President Kevin Hochman recently revealed that the quest for the perfect plant-based piece of chicken is still ongoing. “What we’re trying to replicate is a net where you actually have the muscle fibers. The texture is a bit nicer than what we would call a “chew and stick”. It’s a different technology, ”Hochman told the business magazine. Fortune. “Our plan is to try to reproduce this Kentucky fried chicken as closely as possible, obviously without using the animal.”
In the UK, VFC’s home country, KFC’s vegan options are more advanced. In 2019, a vegan chicken sandwich, then called ‘Imposter Burger’, was tested at 20 locations in London, Midlands and Bristol, where it generated 500% more sales than any other new product launch at KFC UK. The name of the sandwich has since changed to ‘Zero Chicken Burger’, which KFC rolled out to 900 locations across the UK in early 2020.
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