SHANGHAI, China – Yum China Holdings, Inc. announced that its KFC brand is increasingly tapping into regional Chinese cuisines and adding traditional local dishes to its menu. In 2021, to support further market penetration and meet the diversified needs of Chinese consumers, KFC launched 12 regionally inspired menu items across dayparts and introduced regional menu items for the first time.
Over the years, localization has been a strategic focus for KFC’s food innovation in China, including through the introduction of Chinese breakfast products, such as congee, pancakes, rice rolls and bean curd pudding.
In January 2021, KFC launched hot dry noodles at more than 100 stores in Wuhan, making it the first noodle product since entering China. In September 2021, after launching a series of locally inspired snacks in different cities, hot dry noodles became the first regional menu item to launch at KFC stores nationwide as a Limited Time Offer (“LTO”). Over 1 million bowls of hot dry noodles were sold within a week of launching, becoming KFC’s best performing LTO breakfast item in the past three years.
“China prides itself on having rich and diverse food scenes. Almost every city has its own food specialties, particularly when it comes to breakfast,” said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. “Launching regional menu items is part of our strategy to relentlessly pursue food innovation, which helps us respond to fast-changing consumer demands and keep up with the latest trends.”
Introducing menu items that integrate elements of local Chinese food culture in different regions is helping KFC to better resonate with local customers, strengthen customer relationships and drive loyalty. Including the launch of hot dry noodles in January 2021, 12 locally inspired menu items were launched in 10 regional markets during the year, covering breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner dayparts.
The regional breakfast products, including hot dry noodles, xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings) and hulatang (hot pepper soup) have been well received by customers. The launch of xiaolongbao in Hangzhou was expanded to Shanghai and other cities in the Yangtze River Delta region, generating positive feedback from customers. Hot dry noodles and xiaolongbao have since become permanent fixtures on KFC’s breakfast menus in Wuhan and Hangzhou, respectively.
Providing an authentic local taste is essential to the success of regional menu items. KFC has chosen to cooperate with time-honored Chinese brands when developing regional menu items, while leveraging its strong supply chain capabilities to source high quality local ingredients. Selected regional menu items have been added to KFC’s retail product portfolio, available both in stores and via online channels. In September 2021, hot dry noodles, hulatang and yanpi wonton were launched locally via KFC’s retail channels, including the KFC Super App, and e-commerce stores.