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

Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels return to Courtenay

Eight-time Maple Blues winner Carlos del Junco and his Blues Mongrels return… Continue reading

Heating up the kitchen

G.P. Vanier hosting North Island Skills Canada Regional Event

Orcas spotted hunting north of Comox

Did you see the orcas in the area on Feb. 20? Ella… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

Wounded Warrior makes a few Comox Valley stops on Feb. 26

Organizers release schedule for stops on this year’s relay run on the Island

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

Most Read