Vegan Alert: Fast Food Restaurants Jump on the Vegan Train

Norman Weiss, Purchasing Manager, and Jeannine Kienzle, Weavers Way Programs Coordinator


  • San-J orange sauce
  • Louisville vegan jerky
  • Uptons Naturals alternative meat products

Two vegans, one an old-timer and another newer to the scene, exchange banter on all things vegan, from products to events to controversial topics to the shelf life of rutabaga fondue.

This month, Norman and Jeannine talk veganism at fast food chains and ponder the beginnings of the organic food movement.

J: With the state of the world today, we’re all going to hell in a bucket.

N: A bucket of fried chicken!

J: It better be a bucket of vegan Kentucky Fried Chicken.

N: I read the Atlanta KFC sold out their batch in five hours, which consisted of Beyond nuggets and wings. Of course, we don’t know how much they started with...

J: I’m sorta surprised they launched it in Atlanta.

N: I don’t know how they decide. I’m surprised they never came out with a humanely raised chicken option before launching a vegan product.

J: Well, aren’t those just marketing words that mean nothing?

N: No, there are rules, such as a certain amount of room to move freely, free range, no antibiotics, and there are a few competing certifications.

J: I’m playing devil’s advocate. If in the end an animal is slaughtered, how is that humane?

N: Because there are more humane ways to slaughter than other ways — like controlled atmosphere killing, which is supposed to be more humane than electric immobilization and throat slitting.

J: Perhaps jumping on the vegan train is their cash cow, considering the rate at which veganism is trending.

N: Very likely. Plus, it’s probably easier to create vegan chicken than grow humanely raised chicken.

J: And possibly cheaper?

N: Remember, you are starting out with pea protein.

J: But not when you buy the final product. It is a bit pricey.

N: Looks like Beyond Burgers are twice the price of regular burgers, but the industry is still in its infancy. Prices will probably come down with supply and demand and as competitors arise. In the case of KFC, people are going for the taste and texture and it almost doesn’t matter what the core product is.

J: So people just like the taste of fried food and grease.

N: Apparently KFC customers do.

J: I admit that I enjoy Gardein nuggets on occasion.

N: And I love my potato chips. Do you think we will see vegan steakhouses any time soon?

J: It wouldn’t entirely surprise me, being that there already are vegan butchers that exist such as the Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis. I bought their cheese at V Marks the Shop vegan grocery in South Philly.

N: Why would a butcher have cheese?

J: I suppose they’re also a deli.

N: Speaking of deli, growing up we ate a lot of lunchmeat. One of my favorites was tongue. I had no idea that tongue was an actual tongue of a cow.

J: That sounds pretty disgusting. But I also ate a lot of lunchmeat like ham and liverwurst, which I was always embarrassed to eat at lunch in elementary school.

N: Why?

J: I guess other kids thought liverwurst was gross and not many others ate it.

N: Did you like it?

J: Yes, I really did enjoy it. It was a strange concoction that my parents made: liverwurst, American cheese, cream cheese, with mustard on white bread.

N: Doesn’t sound kosher.

J: Well, I was raised Catholic, so kosher didn’t cross our minds.

N: So we both ate organ meats in our childhood. Maybe that was the beginning of the “organic” food movement for us.