LONDON, U.K. - In a bid to explore a new demographic, the vegetarians - KFC is planning to dish out new menu items which will come without the chain’s signature ingredient - Chicken.
The chain has announced that it is planning to launch a new menu item, “vegetarian options” at its British locations.
The company said that the items will still feature its famous herbs and spices flavors but would come sans the chicken.
A KFC spokesman said in a statement, "Development of the recipe is still in its very early stages, and so the options we’re exploring in our kitchen are still top secret. Once we’ve perfected the recipe, we aim to test with customers this year, and if all goes well, we hope to launch a new vegetarian option in 2019."
Earlier this year, the brand temporarily shut almost 900 outlets citing a chicken shortage, which it blamed on a new contract with DHL for "operational issues."
Now, the popular food chain’s move is believed to come in response to the new U.K. nutritional guidelines.
Earlier this year, Public Health England announced its plans to deal with childhood obesity, as part of which it said it will take steps to cut calories in popular foods by 20 percent in six years.
Further, the agency launched its ‘One You’ campaign, which suggests adults eat 400 calories at breakfast and 600 calories at lunch and dinner to cut down on excess calories.
The agency said in its announcement, "If the 20 percent target is met within 5 years, more than 35,000 premature deaths could be prevented and around 9 billion pounds in NHS healthcare and social care costs could be saved over a 25 year period.”
Meanwhile, KFC has stated that its personal goal for Britain is to cut calories in its menu items over the next seven years.
A KFC spokesperson said, “We always look to respond to the latest changes in lifestyle and dining habits of our customers. That's why we're looking into vegetarian options."
KFC’s move also comes a month after it announced that it will begin offering healthier substitutes for fries as sides for free.
The company also said that it will offer low or zero calorie soft drinks and trial a behavioral change program designed to "nudge" consumers toward lighter options.
Victoria Robertson, KFC head of food innovation, said in a statement, “We know people are more passionate than ever about eating well, and we face a big challenge in shifting their perceptions of what we offer. We’ve done it before."
Stressing that the company’s goal is to make the options as delicious as their current offerings, Robertson said, "It’s a tricky challenge, because our fans absolutely love our Original Recipe chicken, and we won’t be changing the Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.”