Earlier this summer, I wrote about stepping inside a Red Robin for the first time ever and a Burger King for the first time in 24 years, after the chains added the plant-based Impossible burger to their menu. I’ve stepped back many times since. The Impossible Whopper is my favorite food right now and I am not alone.
A new industry report notes that Impossible Foods is the fourth fastest growing overall brand in America. It beat out Hulu, Amazon Prime, Venmo, Gillette, and many, many others. And they are not alone.
Another report found that over half of all major food conglomerates are working on plant-based products because people are demanding them and companies have been pleased with the results. As are fast food restaurants: virtually all of them have plant-based options now or are test marketing them, including McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, Taco Bell, Red Robin, Bareburger, White Castle, Chipotle, Habit Burger, Shake Shack, Qdoba, Quiznos, Wendy’s, and KFC.
Earlier this year, for example, KFC test marketed “Kentucky fried plant-based chicken” in Georgia. It sold out in a few hours. Last month, they test marketed it in Canada. It also sold out in a few hours. I am not surprised. As I predicted in All American Vegan, my cookbook, if you make it easy and convenient for people to choose plant-based options, more people will.
Indeed, a global food industry research firm is predicting that in the next 20 years, 60% of the world’s meat will NOT come from slaughtered animals. Instead, it will come from plant-based meat analogues and meat grown in labs from cultured cells. And they say, that is a very conservative estimate. The percentage is likely to be significantly higher. That is incredibly good news.
From the moment they are born to the moment their necks are slit, the vast majority of animals raised and killed for food will experience lives of unremitting torment. They will not know contentment, respite, safety, happiness, or kindness. Instead, they will live a short life characterized by inescapable discomfort, social deprivation, the thwarting of every natural instinct and constant stress, all punctuated by moments of agonizing pain, terror, and the deliberate infliction upon them of harm, cruelty and eventually, a brutal and untimely death. If people will not change what they are eating and where they are eating it, what the food is made of has to change.
Increasingly, it is. And it’s delicious. In fact, the head of R&D at KFC said that, “KFC Beyond Fried Chicken is so delicious, our customers will find it difficult to tell that it’s plant-based.” He said that customers “are going to be amazed.”
May I help you? Yes, I’d like to be amazed, please. A bucket of vegan “chicken.”
P.S. If you don’t want to wait for KFC to bring Kentucky Fried Plant-Based Chicken to your town, you don’t have to. My cookbook has a veganized fried “chicken” inspired by a recipe from Claudia Sanders, the wife of the Colonel, which was in a cookbook given to me as a gift when I visited Shelbyville, KY, on a No Kill speaking tour several years ago. A reviewer said that it was so delicious, it made him cry. ;)
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