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KFC to Give Kids Their Very Own Li'l Bucket of Slop

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Screengrab: KFC Website
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

KFC is unveiling a new Li'l Bucket kids meal today full of just very delightful things. According to the KFC website, the purpose of the Li'L Bucket is to "feed kids and their imagination," by which they must mean encouraging children to creatively decide which sodium-saturated side pairs best with their chosen strain of chicken bits. The meal is comprised of one choice of chicken, one side, Capri Sun or milk, and a pouch filled with applesauce. All components of the meal then go into a bright, kid-friendly bucket, for which customers will pay $3.99 plus tax.

The decision to overhaul the kid's menu was prompted by falling sales after the chicken chain started serving the meals in "adult packaging," The Wall Street Journal reports. Reps from KFC explain the packaging switch as an effort to leverage their brand's "bucket equity" with children, so that the young customers equate buckets full of crap with KFC. The overhaul also includes adding "picture-heavy menu boards are at child level" so that kid's don't need their parents' help deciding what to eat.

Of course, representatives from the company that brought such culinary innovations as the Double Down and the Cheesy Bacon Bowl are concerned about providing healthy meals for America's youth. To that end, one of four chicken choices in the Li'l Bucket is not fried and one of the three options for sides is a non-starch. Says KFC senior director of marketing Cynthia Koplos of the grilled drumstick (the lowest calorie main option), "My guess is it will probably not be the No. 1 choice." Likewise, the green beans will likely be a tough sell against the 830 grams of sodium in the Macaroni 'n Cheese, the best-selling side for kids.

Check out the photos and the press release below for more on the Li'l Bucket of wonders.

The menu choices:
[Screengrab: KFC Website]

The bucket:
[Photo: KFC / Official Photo]

The meal:
[Photo: KFC / Official Photo]

From the press release:

This March, KFC introduces a meal that is sized just for their Li'ttlest fans, KFC's Li'l Bucket Kids Meals™. Packaged in a kid-friendly version of KFC's iconic bucket, the Li'l Bucket Kids Meals come complete with a Kentucky Grilled Chicken® drumstick, green beans, a GoGo squeeZTM applesauce on the go and a Capri Sun Roarin' Water. (This meal has 210 calories, 4 grams of fat and 565 mg of sodium).

"We've found that our fans are looking for meals that appeal to moms and kids in terms of options and taste," said Jason Marker, Chief Marketing Officer for KFC U.S. "By pairing our freshly-prepared chicken choices with delicious, convenient fruit and KFC's famous sides, we've created a meal with balanced and kid-friendly options."

Li'l Bucket Kids Meals can be customized with other chicken choices, homestyle sides and drink options for just $3.99 plus tax (pricing and participation may vary). Diners have a choice between a Kentucky Grilled Drumstick, four Original Recipe® Bites, an Extra CrispyTM Tender or a Chicken Little. See for meal choices and full nutritional information.

Li'l Bucket Kids Meals: The Thinking Mom's Kids Meal
KFC believes meals are an important time for families to spend together. Through strategic partnerships with kid-friendly brands throughout 2013, KFC's iconic bucket will house activities designed specifically for KFC's Li'ttlest guests. KFC launches the kid-sized bucket with activities like word puzzles and riddles that promote interactive play among parents and children from GoGo squeeZ, the 100% fruit, all natural, no-spoon, no-mess way to enjoy fruit on-the-go.

"This is the 'thinking mom's' kids meal - one that is equal parts balanced options and interactive fun for their kids," said Marker.

· The Big Bet | Fast-Food Kids' Meals [WSJ]
· KFC Li'l Bucket [Official Site]
· All KFC Coverage on Eater [-E-]