McDonald’s and KFC have introduced new menu items in local and international markets that could be game changers if expanded to systemwide units in the U.S.
This week, McDonald’s said restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland will unveil Veggie Dippers on Jan. 2. The four “dippers” are breaded and fried and stuffed with red pepper, rice, sundried tomato pesto and split peas.
Customers will be able to order them with vegan-approved fries and a soda, creating the chain’s first vegan meal offering, the company announced this week. The Veggie Dippers will also be available as an option in Happy Meals.
The addition comes as the U.K. market has seen “an 80% uplift in customers ordering vegetarian options at McDonald’s” over the last 12 months, Thomas O’Neill, head of food marketing at McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said.
“So it is time for the brand famous for the dippable McNugget to launch a dippable option for our vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian customers,” he said in a statement. “The Veggie Dippers are a delicious addition to our menu and we’re looking forward to seeing what customers make of our first vegan Extra Value Meal and Happy Meal in the New Year.”
The vegan test comes as McDonald's has been testing a plant-based burger in Canada but has yet to bring one to market in the U.S.
Across the pond, KFC is testing seasoned French fries in more than 250 U.S. restaurants.
It’s unclear if the standard-cut fries would replace the brand’s classic potato wedges. According to KFC’s head chef, fries are something consumers have been wanting for a long time. The culinary team has been developing a recipe and began testing the fries earlier this year.
Dubbed the Secret Recipe Fries, they are “generously coated in a secret recipe seasoning for a signature KFC taste,” the company said. Fries are being sold in select restaurants in the following regions or cities: Roanoke, Va., Oklahoma City, northern Michigan, Southern California, Dallas and Atlanta.
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