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

COLUMN | Creating a “community of practice” inspires

Art Matters by columnist Sarah Zimmerman

Hockey puck with nails found at Terrace Sportsplex Arena

City believes it has already caused $4,000 of damage

Kitselas First Nation receives $1.2M boost for apprenticeship development program

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education announces $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

Terrace Skating Club takes home 24 medals from regional championships

Skaters claim top spot for fifth year in a row

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read