Beyond Meat Inc. has another high-profile fast-food partner — KFC — to help the faux meat maker tackle a plant-based substitute for a different major protein source: chicken.
KFC, owned by Yum Brands Inc., will test plant-based nuggets and boneless wings at one of its Atlanta restaurants on Tuesday. The location will offer complimentary samples to customers who purchase other items.
“Customer feedback from the Atlanta test will be considered as KFC evaluates a broader test or potential national rollout,” KFC said in a statement.
Beyond Meat is rapidly appearing on restaurant menus across the U.S. and Canada as plant-based meat substitutes rise in popularity and chains such as Dunkin’, Tim Hortons and Carl’s Jr. seek to draw in new diners. Competitor Impossible Foods Inc. has developed the Impossible Whopper with Burger King and sliders for White Castle.
Until now, Beyond Meat’s major restaurant partnerships have been limited to burger, sausage and ground-beef substitutes, although the company is also working on bacon. Chicken substitutes are gaining attention from big companies, however: Tyson Foods Inc. has developed vegetarian nuggets that include egg whites and Perdue Farms Inc. has marketed its blended chicken and vegetable nuggets as plant-based. Conagra Brands Inc.’s Gardein has several chicken substitute products, including crispy chicken tenders.
Beyond Meat shares rose as much as 4.9% in New York trading on Monday to $153.99. The stock has climbed more than 500% since its initial public offering on May 1. Yum shares, which have gained about 27% this year, rose as much as 1.67% to 117.23.