- KFC has committed to sourcing 100% recoverable or reusable plastics for its consumer-facing products by 2025, expanding an existing plan to develop and improve sustainable packaging, parent company Yum Brands announced Thursday.
- The chain also joined sister brands Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in the NextGen Consortium, a coalition of food companies led by Starbucks and McDonald's dedicated to advancing packaging alternatives.
- Driven in part by local regulations, the fast food restaurant will work with major suppliers and franchisees to source plastic alternatives in each market, according to the release. The ensuing roadmap begins with an audit of current practices and establishment of market-specific goals.
KFC and Yum Brands have been working to improve sustainability efforts over the last few years, joining a growing trend among fast food providers to reduce waste and improve their carbon footprints. KFC previously committed to sourcing 100% of its fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources by 2020.
"As a global brand that operates more than 22,000 restaurants in over 135 countries, KFC is in a position to have a real impact on how the industry approaches waste and packaging management overall," said CEO Tony Lowings in a release.
A few regional operations have already committed to reducing plastic consumption, according to the release. KFC Singapore will cease providing plastic straws and lids in 84 restaurants; Hong Kong and Macau followed suit last August; Romanian and French stores will replace plastic straws with paper; and KFC India will eliminate plastic bags as it transitions to sustainable options for cups, bowls, sporks and straws.
The press surrounding big sustainability commitments is undoubtedly good for brands; sustainability initiatives – including pledges around poultry sourcing and palm oil usage – have earned the Yum chain a spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for two consecutive years. A majority of consumers will pay more for fast food sold in sustainable packaging, according to Asia Pulp & Paper’s 2018 trends report, with more than a third willing to spend 35% more.