KFC Canada to test bamboo packaging for poutine starting next year

Will be available at company’s 600 Canadian restaurants starting in early 2020

KFC Canada wants to serve up chicken in bamboo buckets eventually, but the fast food chain will start next year with poutine after it finds the right product for its pilot.

“We want our customers to feel that KFC is dedicated to, not only providing finger lickin’ good chicken in every bucket, but also delivering it in a way that our guests can feel good about,” said Armando Carrillo, KFC Canada’s innovation manager, in a statement Tuesday.

The company’s sustainability commitment, which includes sourcing all of its fibre-based packaging from certified or recycled sources by next year, will see it testing new, innovative materials, it said in a statement.

KFC Canada says bamboo buckets will be available at some of the company’s more than 600 Canadian restaurants starting in early 2020.

Just how early is still up in the air.

“It will depend on how quickly we can work with suppliers to find a bamboo bucket option that maintains the integrity (of) the product while also achieving our sustainable goals,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed response to questions.

The restaurant chain said it will strive to have buckets that are compostable but will at the very least ensure they are recyclable or reusable.

Since different Canadian jurisdictions have different recycling and composting rules, it can be difficult for companies to make sure their products are recyclable or compostable across the country.

Whether the bamboo bucket will meet those requirements Canada-wide ”is something we will need to investigate as we move forward with viable prototypes, but it will be recyclable where facilities permit,” it said.

The move would replace its polypropylene poutine packages with bamboo ones.

“I think they’re doing a great thing,” said Chunping Dai, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s department of wood science.

He noted many companies are starting to look at using bamboo and not just for takeout food containers. Companies are testing or already using the material in beauty products, furniture, sleep sets and other goods.

“Bamboo is very sustainable,” he said.

ALSO READ: KFC dedicates China restaurant to memory of Communist hero

It grows very quickly, reaching its mature size in about three or four years, he said.

The plant also sequesters about 40 per cent more carbon than trees given the same amount of land, Dai said.

One strike against it, though, could be cost, he added — as plastic products are notoriously cheap.

That may come down to a demand issue. As more companies want to use bamboo, the material can be mass-produced and its cost could become more comparable to plastic, he said.

KFC Canada plans to expand the initiative to all of its buckets —not just poutine — once it is successful at finding the right packaging. In this pilot, which will last for a yet undetermined amount of time, it is looking at consumer feedback and operational ease, among other things, to gauge success.

The company has also promised to remove all plastic straws and bags from its restaurants before the end of this year.

Many other chains are making similar moves when it comes to single-use plastics and have started to test or implement packaging made from alternative materials.

McDonald’s Canada announced in June that two of its restaurants — one in Vancouver and one in London, Ont. — would become test beds for its greener packaging initiatives. The two locations would trial wooden cutlery and paper straws, among other alternatives.

A&W Canada stopped serving plastic straws recently. It unveiled a public art installation in Toronto in January that spelled out the phrase “change is good” with the last of the company’s plastic straw reserves.

Coffee chains in the country have been keen to create more sustainable packaging as well. Tim Hortons recently introduced a recyclable lid, while Starbucks says it is working to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020.

Consumers pushed the movement against plastic straws. Awareness seemed to reach a tipping point in 2018 after a video showing a turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose went viral.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No dogs allowed off-leash at Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford

New sign placed by Metchosin Farmers Institute on Wednesday, Feb. 19

Metchosin aims to enforce dog leash rule after dog attacks on sheep farm

Stillmeadow Farm loses three to five sheep every year due to loose dogs

Council approve temporary storage to extend life of Oak Bay Fire Hall

It’s cute, it’s iconic, but the picturesque Oak Bay Fire Hall is… Continue reading

Work begins on Otter Point Road project in Sooke

The project now has a fall completion date following a long delay

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

VIDEO: Feds warned agricultural sector near ‘tipping point’ due to blockades

Canadian Federation of Agriculture points to lack of propane and feed due to Coastal GasLink dispute

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

B.C. Liberals call for assistance on soaring strata insurance rates

NDP’s Carole James says problem is across the country

‘Intemperate, insulting’: B.C. teacher reprimanded for online comments about religion

John William Yetman made the comments in response to a Facebook invitation to Open Mosque Day B.C.

Most Read