Kentucky ‘Fraud’ Chicken – Food Fail

Kentucky Fraud Chicken - Food FailCost Cutting Gone Mad

Every time I turn around, food continues to get less and less real.

Imagine my surprise when in a fit of weakness I turned up at my local KFC (yes, the word chicken is no longer in the name) and they simultaneously handed me honey sauce that is only 7% honey and told me that they were going to soon be offering chickens without bones as an option.

How can a chicken walk around without bones? 😉

Needless to say, that was my last visit to KFC unless I get stranded in an airport somewhere with no other option.

Is the unending quest for corporate profits in the food industry and our own quest for convenience killing us?

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but there is no doubt that chain restaurant food is getting less and less real and this is just the latest example of a company crossing the line of decency (in my opinion) in pursuit of profits.

What is your favorite food fail story?

NOTE: While not technically fraud, I bet that if you surveyed 100 people after they consumed honey sauce, that probably 80% of the people would tell you that they just ate honey, not corn syrup with a taste of honey. For what it’s worth.

Stay tuned for more high profile food fails…

P.S. Thanks to Glenn for turning me on to some Far Side humor to the boneless chicken issue.

Boneless Chicken Ranch

Image credit: Gary Larson, Just-Ask-Jill.com

About Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.
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4 Responses to Kentucky ‘Fraud’ Chicken – Food Fail

  1. Pingback: Philadelphia – Food Fail | Business Strategy Innovation

  2. Glenn says:

    Braden,

    Got your “grumpy” on dontcha?

    I’m right there with you on the honey. But I’m somewhat amused that an innovation guru such as yourself is so negative about boneless chickens. (Stopping here to fondly recall the Far Side cartoon about the boneless chicken farm where they were just flopped over everywhere:-)
    According to what I read, KFC made the decision because we have a generation of adults who grew up eating McNuggets or something similar and are not used to/don’t like dealing with bones. My sons for example.

    I also understand you can still get the “regular” chicken as well.

    I give them credit for being innovative enough to evolve to meet the needs of their young adult customers because to ignore them is to court disaster.

    Do you not consider this to be a case of them evolving to meet the needs of an important customer segment? Did you react the same way when McDonalds started selling breakfast or expanding their menu beyond just burgers, fries, and drinks?

    Glenn

    PS: I’ve been blogging for about eight years now. I too get grumpy in a post every now and then.

  3. admin says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write a comment Glenn.

    The article was actually focused on the honey sauce, and chicken without bones was meant as a point of levity in an otherwise serious article. Whether or not KFC’s new boneless chicken will be good or not, all depends on whether the processing stops with just a knife cutting the chicken off the bones or if more processing is involved.

    Regardless of how they do it, I would agree that it is a smart move from a marketing perspective.

    But as the honey sauce example points out, just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Six sigma and an endless quest for increasing profits may have led them to abandon honey for honey sauce for a 0.25 cents per packet savings (making this up), but from a marketing perspective it sends the message to people like me that it is no longer safe to eat at KFC. The reason?

    Because if senior leadership is willing to cut costs by moving from a natural product to a highly processed and dangerous product (essentially corn syrup), then what other corners are they going to cut around food quality in order to boost their profit next quarter.

    As a father I don’t like that scientists are predicting that our children will be the first generation in a couple of centuries to live shorter lives than their parents. One of the biggest threats to both our own life expectancies and those of our children comes from factory food and the decreasing variety in our food supply and the increasing level of pollutants that we are both inhaling and ingesting.

    Innovation is neutral.

    Innovation is focused on creating value above every existing alternative, and it is up to us to make the choices about what the net value created from innovation looks like. Because innovation can create winners AND losers. In the case of honey sauce, the corporate coffers are the winner and the consumers are the loser.

    The profit motive is a powerful motivator in a capitalist society and it can create benefits for society through greater overall utility, but it must be managed by an informed populace (doesn’t have to be the government) when it comes to our food supply, our healthcare system, housing and other basic human necessities.

    And increasingly the food supply in the United States (and elsewhere) is becoming just as broken as the healthcare system.

    Personally, from time to time I will continue to use some of my energy to hopefully shine some light on some of the growing number of food fails being imposed on our society to raise awareness in anyone not already aware, and to hopefully keep innovation focused on achieving a greater good.

    Keep innovating!

    All the best,

    Braden

    • Glenn says:

      Oh well, if you want to highlight food fails, I’m right there with you. Let’s take for example all of my Facebook friends who like to share recipes and pictures of usually unhealthy foods full of sodium, fat, and processed sugar. Meanwhile 20% of Americans are unsure where their next meal comes from.

      I’d like to challenge anyone posting those recipes to first make a donation to your local food bank.

      Glenn

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