KFC's Plant-Based Fried Chicken Will Officially Stay On The Menu

Have a hankering for KFC, minus the chicken? You're in luck: starting January 10, plant-based chicken will hit menus at the fast food chain's locations nationwide.

This menu addition, known as "Beyond Fried Chicken," comes after two full years' worth of testing in various markets, largely to massive success, per QSR Web. The faux chicken was developed and produced by the popular meat substitute startup Beyond Meat, and though it resembles chicken nuggets, it's is designed to taste and feel more like real chicken breast, CNBC reports.

The ingredients list may be long, but the protein primarily comes from pea proteins, wheat, and soy, says Women's Health. Despite its plant-based ingredients, Women's Health notes that the product doesn't technically qualify as vegan or even vegetarian, as it's cooked in the same fryers as KFC's actual chicken, and could be contaminated by animal products. It's not gluten-free, either, thanks to the breading. Still, for people frustrated by the negative aspects of meat-eating, it's a step in the right direction.

Other important 'nuggets' of information

KFC is also looking into adding plant-based wings and nuggets to the menu, but those are still in the testing phases, per Women's Health. For the moment, consumers with a plant-based craving will have to stick with Beyond Fried Chicken, which is available in either six or 12-pieces, along with dipping sauce, says CNBC. Pricing begins at $6.99.

While the addition of plant-based options is definitely a boon for animal lovers, it's important to remember that KFC's plant-based "chicken" is still fried, and therefore not exactly a total win, nutrition-wise. It's also considered a processed food, and those are linked to heart disease, per Healthline.

Registered dietitian Julianne Penner told Healthline that she "wouldn't consider it healthy, but it may be somewhat less harmful," noting that the fryer oil is likely still the unhealthy variety used to cook actual fried chicken. So, not total condemnation, but not exactly a glowing recommendation, either. Probably best to keep even plant-based fried meats in the "once in a while" category.