Beyond Meat, which IPO’d earlier this year, decided combine its fake meat – ahem plant-based chicken – with Colonel Sanders’ 11 herbs and spices. Unless the idea is to inherit the stigma and calories that are generally associated with fast-food joints, this pairing is a terrible idea. KFC is synonymous with comfort food, and patrons don’t visit a fast-food joint for fake meat. Beyond Meat, on the other hand, is a health play, for the most part, plant-based chemicals notwithstanding. By teaming up, both companies are sending mixed messages to their customers. Even KFC admits it’s confusing.
It’s Kentucky Fried Chicken but it’s made with @BeyondMeat. It’s confusing, but it’s also delicious. Feast on these Kentucky Fried miracles tomorrow while they last at KFC in Atlanta, Georgia. pic.twitter.com/lC5oYM1cmk— KFC (@kfc) August 26, 2019
Beyond Meat/KFC Is a Far Cry from Taco Bell/Doritos
Chances are Beyond Meat and KFC are attempting to recreate the magic that struck when Taco Bell partnered with Doritos. In that situation, customers knew what they were getting on both fronts – junk food. There were no false pretenses or empty promises of healthy food and it wasn’t billed as an environmentally sound food option. Taco Bell’s sales for its Doritos Locos Tacos surpassed $1 billion, and they had to hire thousands of workers just to handle the demand. But it took more than one year to accomplish.
Beyond Meat/KFC is not that. For instance, they only plan on running the promotion for one day, Aug. 27, in a single location – Atlanta. They are launching the promotion under the impression that customers are looking for healthier options. The thing is, consumers would no more visit a fast-food joint for a salad than they would go there for vegetarian chicken. Something about it is just not natural.
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown reportedly stated:
“My only regret is not being able to see the legendary Colonel himself enjoy this important moment.”
He might want to count his lucky stars that brand ambassador Colonel Sanders, who started out in life as a farmer, isn’t around to see this, though the Colonel might be turning in his grave.