KFC topped off 2 1/2 years of efforts in a recent announcement that it will switch from using trans-fat to an novel soy hybrid oil that is stable and doesn't need hydrogenation to have a long shelf life. It's an interesting story about the corporate will-power needed to change the old, and the alignment needed from franchisee to supply chain.
- KFC's CEO set the goal to get off of trans fat and the talented resources were put in place to get the job done.
- Next came numerous taste tests to make sure they had the right product and buy-in. The product faced a last panel of judges: the company's franchisee advisory council. They split 50-50; an indicator the new oil was acceptable to the most finicky eaters and sellers of traditional KFC chicken.
- The supply chain had to be created. A new plant, achieved through conventional cross-pollination methods, had been grown for the first time on just 100,000 acres in Iowa in 2005, a drop in the bucket compared to KFC's needs. But with the right price point, the supplier Monsanto predicts farmers will plant 1.5 million acres of the new soybean in 2007, a threefold increase from 2006.