“It’s all right,” is Jordan’s verdict on KFC’s
The 32-year-old would normally choose KFC’s standard chicken fillet burger but he has come with a colleague from Medway in Kent to try out the fast food chain’s temporary vegan addition to its menu.
“It’s a bit lighter,” he tells me patting his stomach. He doesn’t think he’d have it again, it might leave him too hungry.
I’ve come to KFC’s Gloucester Road, London restaurant, one of 20 KFC branches across the UK trialling the Imposter Burger over the next four weeks, to see what customers make of it. Made from Quorn, a fungus-based meat substitute, it is the chain’s first attempt at a vegan alternative to its chicken burger.
Jordan’s colleague Laura, a vegetarian, is delighted that she’s finally being catered for. She and Jordan both work for the police and KFC is a regular meal break outing for staff. “I felt like I was missing out,” she says. “Everyone would go there and I’d just get chips or beans.”
KFC, best known for its meat products, is the latest fast food chain to jump on the vegan bandwagon.
At the start of the year McDonald’s started selling vegetable wraps. Smaller chains such as Byron Burger are offering vegan burgers too, while bakery chain Greggs heavily publicised the launch of its vegan sausage roll. Over in the US Burger King is currently rolling out a vegan Whopper.
The supermarkets are also expanding their vegetarian and vegan offerings, including substitute “meat” designed to mimic the look, smell and taste of the real thing.
Mujahid Ali, working behind the counter at KFC and sporting a green “finger lickin” vegan badge, says business has been brisk. It’s only midday and he reckons they’ve already sold 80 to 90 of the chicken-substitute products. Demand is so high there’s a 10 minute wait for my burger order.
When it finally comes it certainly looks like the real thing. But when I bite into it I can immediately tell the difference. It’s a bit dry and despite the spices it’s bland and unmemorable. I struggle to eat the whole thing.