People. Food. Planet. Over the years, KFC has made significant progress on our sustainability journey in these three priority areas.
Most recently, Yum! Brands, our parent company, published its annual Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report which provides an in-depth look at how Yum!, KFC and our sister brands are approaching sustainability along with showcasing key progress updates.
We encourage you to check out the full report, but first, let’s check in with Susan Miles, Director of Global Sustainability at KFC.
CF: Susan, thanks for taking the time to talk all things sustainability! Can you start by sharing a little about you and your role at KFC?
SM: I started on the KFC U.S. Engineering team in 2002. During my time at KFC U.S. I led numerous packaging initiatives, primarily focused on improving the performance and sustainability as well as helping create new product packaging. I also had the amazing opportunity expand into other areas of engineering and lead the Calendar Engineering team accountable for the development of packaging, smallwares and system equipment rollouts like packlines and fryer safety check in the U.S. In 2019, I was thrilled when the opportunity came to follow a passion and further expand my role in sustainability on the KFC Global Team.
CF: 2020 has been a year like no other. How has this impacted KFC’s sustainability strategy?
SM: We could not have prepared for a year like this. While 2020 has altered our sustainability strategy somewhat, we remain committed to the three pillars of people, food and planet. Based on qualitative and quantitative research, we’ve doubled down with a special focus on people (e.g. how we support our nearly 800,000 team members around the world along with the communities we serve). As noted in the report, Yum! has committed to invest $100 million over the next five years to fight inequality through the Unlocking Opportunity Initiative and we look forward to what’s next.
CF: Can you share why animal welfare is important to KFC?
SM: KFC has a long-standing commitment to the humane treatment of the chickens we raise for food. Science-based measurements in chicken welfare are important which is why we announced a new set of chicken welfare key performance indicators (KPIs) over the summer. These new KPIs will help us track and assess progress around the world in the coming years.
CF: What’s new on the food front?
SM: A lot, but I’ll just hit on one topic. We continue to test and explore plant-based products. KFC has piloted plant-based in multiple markets including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Hong Kong. Since the initial test, KFC U.K. added the Original Recipe Vegan Burger at select restaurants. Canada took it a step further and is now serving a permanent plant-based option coast to coast.
CF: What about packaging? In early 2019 KFC announced that all plastic-based, consumer-facing packaging will be recoverable or reusable by 2025. How is this coming along?
SM: This is a very big goal that will take innovation, time and commitment to achieve. With a global brand like ours, we have markets in different stages on this journey. Some markets have already eliminated plastics from their packaging and others are making action plans to meet the 2025 goal.
CF: Sounds like you’ve been busy in your role! Anything you’d like to close with?
SM: I’d like to end on three points:
This work ladders up to our broader business strategy—being more R.E.D. (relevant, easy and distinctive). Having leadership awareness and strategy integration has been a critical factor to our success.
It’s really a team effort and couldn’t happen without the broad cross-functional partnership across KFC and Yum! I’m thrilled to work with innovative and collaborative and committed people day in and day out.
I highly encourage everyone to check out the new report here for more on KFC’s sustainability journey.