New Delhi: At a time when beverage giants such as Coca-Cola are planning to opt for plastic packaging (bottles), US fried chicken chain KFC is trying to go the opposite way. Starting with its Rice Bowlz, it will introduce edible packaging in the country later this week.
Previously made of plastic, the bowls that are used to serve rice and gravy will now be made of tortilla. This is the Yum Brands-owned company’s second attempt at ready-to-eat packaging after edible coffee cups in UK.
“This is an India-first innovation and may be adopted in KFC’s global markets,” said Rahul Shinde, MD of KFC India. Rice Bowlz is one of the best-sellers on KFC’s menu he-re and contributes around 5-6% to its domestic revenues while fried chicken contributes more than 50 % .
KFC will pilot the project in Bengaluru, keeping in mind the Karnataka government’s ban on plastic that was imposed last month.
Globally, food scientists have been trying to come up with edible packaging in an effort to curb waste. It is estimated that around $12 billion worth of recyclable, post-consumer packaging is wasted annually. However, edible packaging can be expensive too.
“We will not charge more for our edible bowls,” said Shinde. “We will wait for consumer response and depending on the pace of adoption, we may roll the concept out to other items on our menu.”
Shinde said the company has invested heavily in its innovation team and the edible bowl was a result of it. Other items from India that have been adopted in KFC’s global markets are KFC Chizza and KFC Krushers.
While KFC sales declined 1% year-on-year in the quarter ended March with western-style foods witnessing a slump, the QSR chain plans to foray into tier III cities in the near future to boost consumption, according to Shinde.