London—KFC is jumping on the meat-free bandwagon, launching a vegan version of its signature crispy chicken burger in the United Kingdom.
The fast food chain is calling its first plant-based offering “The Imposter.” The burger, which uses a Quorn fillet and vegan mayo, will be sold at select restaurants for four weeks starting June 17.
Quorn is a meat substitute that gets its protein content from a fermented fungus. KFC describes the burger as “a triumph of deception.”
KFC is the latest in a series of restaurant chains and food producers to attempt to capitalize on the public’s growing appetite for meat alternatives.
Earlier this week, Burger King announced that they were expanding distribution of their popular meat-free burger Impossible Whopper to 100 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In May, McDonald’s launched a meatless burger in stores in Germany, one of its biggest international markets.
The trend is growing more rapidly than many observers anticipated as consumers search out meat alternatives to diversify their diets or reduce their environmental footprint.
Globally, the retail market for meat substitutes could grow from about $18.7 billion in 2018 to $23 billion in 2023, according to Euromonitor International.
One producer, Beyond Meat (BYND), which had a wildly successful IPO in May, reported last week that its sales reached $40.2 million in the first quarter of 2019—up 215 percent from the same period a year before.
The company expects overall revenues to exceed $210 million this year, up more than 140 percent.
Animal right groups praised KFC for offering the vegan burger.
“We’re confident it will be a huge hit with the skyrocketing numbers of vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians around the United Kingdom,” said Dawn Carr, director of vegan corporate projects at PETA.
By Amy Woodyatt