Are fast food chains trying to attract more pregnant women?
You’d think so with some of their latest offerings, which are all themed after one of the most stereotypical pregnancy cravings: pickles (though so far, not mixed with ice cream). Several nationwide fast food restaurants have recently rolled out pickle-flavored offerings and it seems like all the competitors just keep copying each other on the trend.
It’s going to be a dill pickle flavored summer.
KFC is thinking outside the box — big time
Putting pickles on a fast food sandwich isn’t a new idea. Making the meat pickle flavored? That’s a complete departure from anything that’s been done before.
KFC made headlines this week when they announced Pickle Fried Chicken, a disruptive menu concept that people can’t stop talking about. For a limited time starting June 25, you’ll be able to hit up your local drive-thru and order seasoned and breaded fried chicken doused in pickle juice and topped off with — you guessed it — sliced pickles.
The sauce is made with dill, vinegar, onion, garlic, buttermilk, and white and black pepper. TODAY taste testers say it’s “potent — but not overwhelmingly so.”
One distinction to note: unlike other fast food chains with pickle-flavored options on the menu, the chicken is slathered in sauce rather than brined. This means you can order several menu items with pickle sauce, such as Extra Crispy Chicken, Extra Crispy Tenders, a Crispy Colonel Sandwich or Chicken Littles. One TODAY staffer said it’s the perfect recovery food after a night of bar-hopping. “Although I’m not hungover at the moment, I imagine that this tangy, salty amazingness is the perfect hangover food,” they said.
The only downside to this pickle flavored chicken is that it can get soggy if you let it sit around too long. If you’re concerned about sogginess, you can always get your sauce on the side.
Is KFC copying Chick-fil-A?
There’s a reason fans are so obsessed with Chick-fil-A chicken, and it has everything to do with pickles.
It turns out they achieve their signature, tender chicken consistency by brining the meat in pickle juice before frying it. This method doesn’t impart the over-the-top pickle flavor you’ll get with KFC’s new sauce, but it may have been the inspiration for KFC’s new sandwich offering.
It’s worth mentioning that KFC does not brine their chicken first — they just add the pickle-flavored sauce later.
Sonic got in on the pickle action, too
Not to be outdone, Sonic Drive-In recently debuted a slush concept that some find gross, but many can’t wait to try. Its called the Pickle Juice Slush. “Quite simply, pickle juice is fun,” Scott Uehlein, Sonic’s vice president of product innovation and development, told TODAY Food in an email. “Nothing says summer like a Sonic slush.”
A Food & Wine editor reports that it has a “sweet and tangy” taste that dill pickle fans will just adore. The new flavor is available nationwide at 3,500 Sonic locations.
What’s with all the pickles?
The fast food industry is notorious for introducing new concepts to excite customers and get them into the restaurant. Existing customers are encouraged to try something new, old customers want to come back for the new item, and potential customers are lured by the intrigue.
It’s all good old-fashioned marketing — with a side of pickles.
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