KFC sign

Woman feels ‘discriminated’ over lack of meat-free meals at KFC

Vanessa Hensley and her partner, Aaron Saini, entered KFC in Exeter only to discover its “absolutely disgraceful” lack of meat-free meals that they had once offered. The pescatarian claimed she felt “discriminated.

We were all going to treat ourselves as a household to a family bargain bucket and also a vegetarian meal for myself,” she said. “When my partner got to the till to order, they said, unfortunately, we haven’t got any vegan or vegetarian options on the menu anymore. I thought that was absolutely disgraceful. 

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“They didn’t say a reason why; they were quite rude to my partner,” she added. “I think it’s disgusting because there’s more and more people becoming vegan and vegetarian these days.” [1] 

Woman Upset Over KFC’s Lack of Meat-Free Meals 

Hensley had hoped the restaurant would offer the vegetarian burger or veggie and rice dish, but she was very disappointed. 

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I’m not going to KFC ever again,” said Hensley. She explained that the workers made her feel “as though we vegetarians and vegans don’t mean anything to them.” She suggests that KFC should put up a sign to notify people that there are no meat-free meals available. “For a takeaway and eat-in restaurant, they’re kind of losing out on money.” 

After the “discriminating” incident, the couple left KFC and enjoyed fish and chips at another restaurant.  

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In response, a KFC spokesperson expressed that the situation was a shame. “We never want our fans to leave feeling disappointed. It’s always amazing to see how popular our Original Recipe Vegan Burger is, but due to less demand from people out and about at the start of this year and our focus on running our restaurants responsibly with smaller teams, we prioritized the vegan burger in areas where it was a massive hit,” the spokesperson explained. 

We’re sorry this guest wasn’t able to get their hands on one.” [2] 

Should Fast Food Restaurants Offer Vegan Food? 

The vegan and vegetarian menus in many fast-food chains often include little more than French fries, plain salads, and black coffee. This is surprising since the plant-based food industry that includes alternatives to animal products generates over 13 billion dollars in sales every year in the United States. [3] 

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Despite the rise in veganism, many owners don’t feel the extra effort will pay off. For one, it holds a high additional cost. Also, vegan options could clash with the overall brand. Others have tried to provide vegan options, but they weren’t popular enough to sustain, so they removed them from their menus. However, the number of people who identify as a vegan has increased by 600% over three years. So the demand is there, but some brands better capitalize on it than others. 

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However, Katrina Fox, founder of Vegan Business Media, believes that it’s a smart business move for any restaurant to provide meat-free meals. These also cater to “flexitarians,” which are meat-eaters who’d opt for vegan options if they are available. 

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It’s also important to think about people dining in large groups, which is bound to have someone with meat restrictions. “People tend to go out to eat in small or large groups. Nowadays, that means there’s a greater chance of one or more in the party not wanting to eat meat or animal products,” said Fox. 

Also, some restaurants provide “meat-free meals” that are little more than few salads. The lack of takers isn’t a reflection on the demand; it’s a reflection of their products.  

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“Restaurants also need to be aware that the days of offering bell peppers stuffed with rice and veggies, or a lentil patty topped with wilted lettuce are long gone,” Fox added. “With the development of next-generation burgers, sausages, and other plant-based meats, chefs need to up their game and get more creative. Those that do will reap the rewards and position themselves as progressive and responsive to consumer demand.” [4] 

Should Vegan Restaurants Offer Meat? 

In response to Hensley’s story, many people mocked her for expecting a vegan option from a chain that has “chicken” in its name. They add that no one would go into a vegan joint and feel discriminated against that they don’t serve any meat.  

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Of course, this intentionally sounds nonsensical. When push comes to shove, restaurants can serve whatever they like, accommodating meat-free meals or not. Most people with food restrictions (such as vegans, lactose or gluten intolerance, or even nut allergies) know that it’s their responsibility to ensure where they’re eating out has proper options for them.  

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Fortunately, more and more restaurants cater to different dietary needs, making dining out an enjoyable option for everyone. 

Keep Reading: Nose ring blamed for life-threatening infection that ‘killed’ woman’s liver

Sources: 

  1. “Woman feels ‘discriminated’ over lack of meat-free meals at KFC.” New Zealand Herald. March 11, 2021 
  2. “Woman feels ‘discriminated’ by Exeter KFC over lack of meat-free options.” Devon Live. Lili Stebbings. March 9, 2021 
  3. “Major fast-food chains are missing out on a $13 billion opportunity.” Business Insider. Jessica Tyler. May 17, 2018 
  4. “Why Restaurants are Losing Out on the $13 Billion Vegan Food Industry.” Live Kindly.  Kat Smith.
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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