The Hooters menu is getting a makeover in 2020. The chain announced Monday that it's now offering Unreal Wings, a meat-free version of its famous chicken wings.
In deciding which meat-alternative brand to use, Carl Sweat, global chief marketing officer at Hooters of America, told Cheddar. "One taste is all it took," to choose Quorn, an alternative meat company based in the UK.
Sweat said the move comes at a perfect time of year, when everyone is focused on their health resolutions. "Obviously, the first of the year, people are thinking about how to eat a little healthier," he said, "so we thought if we could get this done in the beginning of the year, what a better time?"
In March 2017, Hooters launched Smoked Wings on its menu, which feature half the calories of its regular wings. Hooter took note of that when deciding to add a meatless wings option. "We thought this is a similar kind of phenomenon, where people are going to be wanting to maybe eat a little bit healthier." Sweat said. "So this was a great opportunity to say, whether you are a vegetarian, flexitarian, a carnivore who just wants to eat a little bit less meat, we have an option for you."
The decision to offer the new non-chicken wings wasn't solely a health consideration. Sweat also noted that millennials are interested in sustainable options, including in their diets.
While the "wings" are not the first vegetarian option to land on the Hooters menu, it's also not the last. Sweat said that Hooters is already working with Quorn to bring another non-meat product to its menu.