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.

Just Posted

New, feature-length documentary on missing woman Emma Fillipoff comes out next year

The film follows Fillipoff’s disappearance and the ongoing investigation

Escaped Metchosin inmate sentenced to additional year tacked on to 14-year sentence

Man escaped from William Head Institution arrested days later in Esquimalt

Harbour authority to honour Victoria sailor Jeanne Socrates with naming ceremony

In September Socrates became the oldest person to sail around the world in a solo, unassisted trip

VIDEO: The sticky truth about winter moths and how Greater Victoria arborists fight them

Winter moths have ‘killed a lot of trees’ across the region, says Oak Bay arborist

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

B.C. pushes for greater ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

EDITORIAL: It’s time to face the truth on drug use

The homeless don’t own the drug epidemic

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Most Read