KFC debuts a chicken nugget aimed at younger customers

KFC is trying out a new type of chicken nugget to attract Gen Z

The new KFC nuggets

KFC is testing a new type of chicken nugget as part of its efforts to attract more younger consumers.

Called Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets, the new menu item is made with white meat and is hand-breaded with the fast-food chain’s iconic 11 herbs and spices recipe. The nuggets come in serving sizes of eight, 12, and 36 pieces, and start at $3.49. Each order also comes with a sauce; options include the KFC sauce, Honey BBQ, Classic Ranch, and Honey Mustard.

Where are the new KFC nuggets available?

The new KFC nuggets

The new Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets are available in restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina starting today, July 18th, for a limited time. Aside from KFC locations in the Charlotte metropolitan area, the new menu item can also be ordered in restaurants in neighboring areas like Concord, Mint Hill, Shelby, and Salisbury.

To mark the debut of the new menu item, the chain plans to deliver nuggets to the staff at several Atrium Health maternity centers in Charlotte this week.

Are these the first-ever chicken nuggets from KFC?

No. KFC has offered a number of chicken nuggets before, including popcorn nuggets. But according to Restaurant Business Magazine, the new KFC nuggets are the chain’s first chicken nuggets in decades.

Gen Z and the takeout trend

A rep for the company noted that the new KFC nuggets are particularly aimed at younger customers. “We’re targeting younger customers, like Gen Z and Millennials, who are interested in boneless chicken options,” said the KFC spokesperson (via CNN Business).

Gen Zers or those currently between the ages of 18 and 24 are an important demographic for restaurants. But as pointed out by CNN Business, this group of consumers is less interested in dining out than other generations were at their age. And with the industry’s shift toward takeout, it has become a priority for KFC and other restaurants to try to grab their attention.

“The earlier you can engage with a consumer, the more potential you have for building loyalty and building frequency over the course of more years,” Robert Byrne, director of consumer and industry insights at the restaurant consulting firm Technomic, previously told CNN Business earlier this July. Byrne added that it’s hard to develop loyalty “once somebody’s past that window.”

That said, the new KFC nuggets have the potential to be successful, as they can be eaten on the go and is perfect for snacking, a trend that’s seeing a comeback as consumers start to return to the office or begin a hybrid work setup.

Chicken nuggets in other fast-food chains

While the new snackable KFC nuggets have a high potential to play well with younger consumers, not all chicken nuggets that were recently introduced by chains became successful.

Last year, Popeyes launched its own nuggets in an attempt to capitalize on the success of its blockbuster chicken sandwich. But Restaurant Business Magazine reported that its sales actually slowed down, likely due to a combination of difficult comparisons and labor challenges.

Popeyes chicken nuggets
Popeyes chicken nuggets

Earlier this year, McDonald’s also brought chicken nuggets back to its menu, but only at some of its locations and only for a limited time.

Chicken McNuggets
Chicken McNuggets
Sources: Restaurant Business Magazine, CNN Business
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