I think all of us in the UK will concur that it’s been a pretty long and gloomy month this January. The one thing that has brought me a bit of joy though is seeing all the amazing vegan product launches as Veganuary continues to grow in popularity. One of the new products that most caught my eye was VFC, a new vegan fried chicken. VFC, which actually beat many brands to it by launching late December, is clearly a vegan dupe for KFC, aiming to match the fast food experience by bringing deep fried mock meat into peoples homes. I know mock meat can divide a crowd, but as a committed junk food vegan, I was excited to try it out.
I ordered the mixed bundle, a box full of VFC’s chilli-kick and original fried and crispy southern fried Chick*n pieces. It was £25, with free delivery, and let me tell you when the box arrived I realised it was quite a lot of ‘chicken’! After much manoeuvring, I just managed to fit everything in my freezer. Purely for reasons of space, we decided to tuck into the bites and fries. Very similar to a meal you might get from a fast food restaurant, each box contained a portion of five pieces of chic*n, fries for one, and a little pot of barbecue sauce. My boyfriend and I went halves so we could each try the original and chilli-kick bites. When in the packaging, I thought the portion sizes looked on the smaller size, but once I plated everything up, there had been nothing to worry about, there was definitely ample food.
I have to admit to being a bit disappointed in the flavour of the chick*n. I had a certain expectation based around the name VFC, but there was no sign of anything close to a blend of 11 herbs and spices in the coating of the bites. I found the original flavour to be a bit bland, although the barbecue sauce in the boxes was comparatively very flavourful and they still went down well when dipped in that (perhaps they could bottle up the sauce and sell that too, if it’s their own recipe – I’d buy it)! The spicy chick*n definitely had more flavour, and was the one I preferred, but with the heat being all in the wheat protein centre, I still wished the coating had more seasoning. On a more positive note, the texture was pretty much spot on. The chick*n had a meaty bite to it, enough to satisfy any meat-eater I think. And that deep friend cornflake coating was so satisfyingly crunchy! They definitely look like the real deal and I expect many people would be none the wiser that it was vegan, until they took a bite at least.
In the mixed bundle, alongside the meal boxes with the bites and fries, you also get two boxes of fillets, and two big separate bags of the bites. We cooked the original fillets to go with a roast dinner, which if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen was a disaster as we realised at the last moment that we’d run out of gravy. However, I think the fillets would actually be really tasty smothered in gravy, which was the aim, and they worked well as an accompaniment to a roast. With the rest of the chic*n, we’ll make sure we pair it with flavourful sauces and seasoning, and that way they’ll still be very much enjoyed.
Although I can see room for improvement with the recipe of the VFC ‘chicken’, I think it’s such a great idea to bring fast food style meals like this into peoples’ homes, continuing to show that going vegan doesn’t have to mean missing out. I really hope this new business continues to grow and thrive. Despite what I’ve written, I’ve also seen a lot of very positive feedback online so I’d urge to to try it for yourself and see where you land! I completely appreciate that £25 is quite a lot to spend on mock meat, and not everyone is able to do that. I saw it as a treat myself and it won’t be a regular purchase, but I did think I got a decent amount of food for the money. You can buy the products individually from as little as £3.50, making it much more affordable, and less of a risk if you just want to try it out before knowing whether you’ll like it or not.
Have you tried VFC yet? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts!