During McDonald’s Q4 earnings call earlier this week, executives noted that the chain is gaining market share in chicken. KFC may have an answer for that, today announcing the launch of its Kentucky Fried Chicken Wraps. They’ll be available nationwide beginning Feb. 6.
The lineup includes the classic chicken wrap, with an extra crispy tender, pickles and mayo wrapped in a tortilla, and a spicy slaw chicken wrap, with an extra crispy tender, KFC’s signature coleslaw, spicy sauce and crispy pickles.
KFC has been testing wraps since early October in select Atlanta locations and a spokesperson for the brand said customer feedback in the market was “overwhelmingly positive.”
During an interview at KFC’s Louisville, Kentucky, headquarters Wednesday, Chief Marketing Officer Nick Chavez noted that the wraps are part of the brand’s broader strategy to expand its audience. In doing so, the chain is focused on a “balanced” menu of its core items, like the KFC bucket, as well as new offerings.
“I think it’s fair to say that our core customer, the customer who comes to KFC most frequently is older than the average QSR customer and that’s great, we love them and want to continue to serve them,” Chavez said. “And we need to bring in new audiences and invite new generations of customers to discover KFC.”
The wrap checks several demand boxes for younger consumers – namely boneless, portable and at a value price point. KFC’s wraps are available for two for $5.
“Value is critically important to the consumer. The consumer needs to understand that they’re getting good value for their money,” Chavez said. “We need to provide compelling value for every segment of our business. I think the new KFC chicken wraps are a great example of this – that’s a lunch product, a snacking product, an on-the-go product, it’s an anytime product at a great value.”
Chavez notes the wraps should drive more lunch occasions, as well as more frequency overall. He also hopes it supports his priority of creating “modern relevance for modern families,” especially families with young children and teenagers.
“Everyone has a KFC moment. We hear amazing stories about KFC experiences. Sometimes those stories come with a past tense,” Chavez said. “We want people to discover those new moments that can be found in our food and experience today.”
Wraps are only part of the equation here. The chicken sandwich, launched in 2021, forged the path for this renewed focus on menu innovation, and KFC has also been testing nuggets in the Charlotte, North Carolina, market since July.
They are all part of a defensive playbook KFC can use when its QSR peers start talking about taking chicken share. It’s worth noting that there is a Change.org petition asking for McDonald’s to bring back its snack wraps – which were discontinued in 2016 – and snack wraps have dominated several conversations on McDonald’s social media channels. Chavez doesn’t seem fazed by competitive chirping. He’s instead focused on making sure KFC is leading a bigger conversation facilitated by an uptick in demand for chicken overall. In fact, chicken consumption in 2022 doubled consumption numbers from 1999, according to U.S. government data.
“People love chicken, and more people are consuming more chicken, and KFC is the world’s greatest fried chicken,” Chavez said. “I’m excited about being at the epicenter of a global movement in terms of chicken consumption knowing we have the world’s best when we do it right and when we make the right and most relevant offerings on our menu.”
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]