US restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken said Monday it was conducting market tests of grilled chicken menu options for diners who prefer not to eat fried food.
KFC, which runs over 14,000 food outlets in more than 80 countries and is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., said it planned to roll out its new grilled chicken dishes nationwide in early 2009.
The grilled chicken menu options will contain less calories and fat than KFC's comparable fried chicken meals.
The fast food group said its grilled chicken has between 60 and 180 calories and three to nine grams of fat compared with fried chicken which typically contains between 130 and 360 calories and eight to 24 grams of fat.
Grilled chicken will be priced at a similar level to fried chicken, KFC said.
"This great tasting product will help KFC continue to evolve and increase our relevance among consumers looking for nonfried menu options," said KFC President Gregg Dedrick.
KFC, like other US fast food groups, is vying to overhaul its menu as American consumers become more health conscious and wary about the foods they eat amid increased concerns about obesity.
Fast food behemoth McDonald's has already changed some of its menus and boosted the number of salads offered to its customers.
KFC, which was founded by Harland Sanders in a gasoline station during the Great Depression, said the move formed part of a wider nutrional review of its menus.
The fast food group, known for its red and white branded food "buckets", said it was also seeking to cut the sodium content in some of its menus after it started transitioning to zero grams trans fat per serving of fried chicken last year.
KFC said it was testing its new grilled chicken at various restaurants across the United States prior to offering the dish nationally.