KFC has become the first quick service restaurant to bring on-trend street food to the high street, as it adds to its traditional fried chicken menu with the introduction of a range of slow cooked pulled chicken products for its customers.
The innovative move reflects Britain’s growing love affair with ‘Americana’, which has driven a 35% increase in the number of American and BBQ style dishes served in UK restaurants since 2010 and a boom in the number of new smokehouses, burger bars, diners and rib shacks that have popped up throughout the country. London alone has seen a 40% increase in American themed eateries opening on its streets since 2012. The booming trend has also influenced the grocery industry with pulled meats beginning to appear on supermarket shelves, contributing to a £10m sales growth in Pulled Pork alone. It is now estimated that the Southern American BBQ style food market is worth over £68m in the UK.
Arriving ahead of KFC’s 50-year anniversary, the slow cooked Pulled Chicken range - which includes the Ultimate Burger, Chicken Twister Wrap and lower calorie Lil’ Wrap - have been launched to provide customers with a greater choice across the KFC menu.
KFC Innovation Manager, Louise Direito said: “If Pulled Pork was the dish of 2014, then 2015 will become the year of Pulled Chicken. Influenced heavily by both our Kentucky heritage as well as the UK street food scene, the new range is a labour of love for us. We have been working tirelessly for the past 18 months to improve the variety of our menu and are delighted that we can now provide our customers with something completely unique to KFC.”
Trendologist Charles Banks, founder of thefoodpeople said: “The popularity of American-inspired cuisine, BBQ and pulled meats comes from the contemporary BBQ craze that has swept the US and now the UK, evolving from a food trend into a food genre. Pulled meats and BBQ fit perfectly with where the UK food scene is right now - it’s about comfort, simplicity, low and slow cooking, the use of cheaper cuts of meat, social and convivial food and huge flavour delivery. We have worked with KFC to take inspiration from this genre and make it work for chicken, rather than pork and other meats more traditionally used in this style of cooking, to create a menu which caters for the growing number of consumers who are on the hunt for new dishes and culinary experiences.”
The new Pulled Chicken is made from a blend of (60%) white breast and (40%) dark meat to give a balance of tenderness and flavour, and cooked in a sauce inspired by an authentic Kentucky recipe. The meat is first tumbled in a dry spice rub which includes smoked paprika, clove and chilli before being marinated in a molasses-based sauce and slow cooked for almost two hours.
The new Pulled Chicken range is available in KFC restaurants from 1st September, across the UK and Ireland.