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KFC to sell plant-based fried chicken made by Cargill in China

FILE PHOTO: A KFC restaurant is seen in Shanghai, China March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) - Yum China's YUMC.N KFC fast food chain will begin selling plant-based fried chicken for the first time in China over a limited time period, it said on Monday.

The nuggets will be supplied by U.S. agribusiness Cargill Ltd [CARGIL.UL] and will be sold at only three outlets in China in Shanghai and the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen between April 28-30, KFC said on its official Weibo account.

Customers who would like to try a bite must purchase a pre-sale coupon, it said. One serving comprises of five chicken pieces and will be sold for 1.99 yuan.

The move comes amid growing global interest in China's meat substitute industry, which has been identified by both U.S. players Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat BYND.O as a key target market. The coronavirus outbreak is also threatening China's poultry production.

Yum Brands Inc's YUM.N KFC started offering plant-based fried chicken supplied by Beyond Meat in the United States at one of its Atlanta outlets. The two companies said in January that they would expand that tie-up to several KFC stores in Tennessee and North Carolina.

KFC’s announcement garnered mixed reactions on Chinese social media platform Weibo, with some commentators saying that they hoped the new offering would be healthier.

One of the most “liked” comments under its post, however, said they were sceptical that the product would be popular in China. “We want to eat meat!,” said the poster.

Reporting by Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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