If I said Harlan Sanders, would you know who I was talking about? If I said The Colonel, that might give you a clue. Colonel Harlan Sanders was the “inventor” of Kentucky Fried Chicken, one of the most successful franchise businesses around. His was an inspirational story of persistence as he got turned down over 1000 times before he got a yes. What you might not know if that he didn’t find success with KFC until he was much older. At 65, finding himself broke, he drove around to diners, sleeping in his car, trying to get these diners to use his fried chicken recipe and giving him a nickel commission per chicken.
From these humble beginnings, his KFC empire was born. Today, his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices is still being used in the restaurants around the world. The original hand written recipe still exists under lock and key in the HQ in Lexington, Kentucky and only accessible by 2 executives at a time.
What does that have to do with food trends and Southern BBQ? Recently, I was invited along to an event to showcase the new Pulled Chicken Sandwich they have just launched. This new product is the culmination of a 2 year product development process where the KFC team worked with food trend agency The Food People.
The Food People conducted a big trend report on BBQ in America’s deep south. In London, over the last couple of years, we have seen the increasing influence of the Deep South and Barbecue dishes being featured from street food stalls to posh eateries.
The process began with the Food People identifying about 40 potential product ideas which were further tested by the KFC chefs. This list was whittled down to 4 and the final choice of product to roll out was the Pulled Chicken. Pulled Chicken is not a new thing but it is not that well known. We all know about slow cooked pulled pork and sometimes pulled rabbit.
KFC has created 3 products using the Pulled Chicken, The L’il Wrap (240 cals), the Ultimate Burger (640 cals) and The Chicken Twister (440 cals).
The Ultimate Burger is a brioche bun filled with 2 chicken fillets, pulled chicken, a Southern style cole slaw, lettuce and cheese. It is quite enormous and the combination is really tasty. We tasted the pulled chicken on its own and it was a tad sweet but in the burger or wrap it worked well. For a light lunch the wrap might be a good option as there is a lot of it, it’s not fried and it’s only 240 cals.