.- The U.S. based Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) company, long known for its fast-food chicken is planning to sell fish for the first time and has asked for Pope Benedict XVI’s blessing.
For Lent this year the company is introducing a “Fish Snacker Sandwich,” and has sent a letter to the Holy Father, letting him know.
"This is the first time KFC has ever served fish nationally, and we believe that the new sandwich could make it easier and more affordable for Catholics to observe the tenets of their faith," KFC President Greg Dedrick wrote in a letter to the Pope earlier this month.
According to the AP, the letter asks the Holy Father for a special blessing and offers him a sample of the sandwich.
John O’Reilly, chief marketing officer for KFC said the sandwich was launched with Catholics in mind. Traditionally restaurant seafood sales go up during the Lenten Season, when Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays.
Laurie Schalow, a spokeswoman for KFC, told the AP that the Vatican confirmed receiving the letter and the company is hopeful for a response in the next week.
The sandwich is made of Alaskan pollock, the largest food fish resource in the world and a fish commonly used to make breaded and battered fish products.
KFC is owned by Yum Brands Inc. of Louisville, which also owns seafood outlet Long John Silver's. Schalow said the sandwich shouldn't put KFC and Long John Silver's at odds.
"The reason we decided to do this is our consumers showed an interest," Schalow said.
KFC, which has 5,500 restaurants around the country, test marketed the sandwich last year. The reviews were good, so the decision was made to sell the item nationally, Schalow said. The sandwich will remain on sale only during Lent, she said.