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Takeaway Truth: KFC Zinger Stacker And Kentucky Burgers

Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: KFC’s Zinger Stacker and Kentucky Burgers.

Fast food restaurants have been known to gild the lily when it comes to accurate depictions of their menu items. Far too often, the mouth-watering feast on the poster turns out to be a limp and oily morsel. In a bid to keep the fry-jockey overlords honest, we’ve decided to document the reality of fast food — it was either that, or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

KFC has revamped its burger range with two new menu offerings: the KFC Zinger Stacker and KFC Kentucky. Like the KFC Double and Parmy Stacker before it, they are being marketed as a plus-sized indulgence for people with big appetites, heralded by the slogan “Oooh yeah!” (Good thing “Macho Man” Randy Savage isn’t alive to sue.)

Here’s the overtly blokey advertisement for the KFC Zinger Stacker (the Kentucky ad is practically identical.)

The Kentucky Burger comes with an original recipe chicken fillet, coleslaw, crispy onions, two slices of cheese, bacon and smoky BBQ sauce. The Zinger Stacker ups the ante with two Zinger fillets, two slices of melted cheese, lettuce, spicy “supercharged” sauce and chilli relish.

According to KFC’s nutritional data, a single Zinger Stacker contains 2993kJ of energy, 25.9g of fat, 57.3g of carbohydrates, 12.4g of sugars and 2257mg of sodium. The Kentucky, meanwhile, has 2603kJ of energy, 25.9g of fat, 57.3g of carbohydrates, 18.8g of sugars and 1890mg of sodium.

The Stacker and Kentucky can also be purchased in a boxed meal which packs in 5140kJ and 4750kJ, respectively. That’s more than half your daily kilojoule intake in a single sitting. Like we said, big appetites.

The burgers aren’t particularly cheap either: a standalone Kentucky costs $7.45, while the Zinger Stacker is $8.45. As with most KFC burgers, you’re better off getting the boxed meal. (Financially better off, that is. Your health is another matter.)

Naturally, if you’re going to pay over $7 for a single takeaway burger you don’t want it to look like crap. The marketing images for the Zinger Stacker and Kentucky are suitably scrumptious looking. But as Takeaway Truth has shown us time and again, reality often paints a different picture.

Below is a split-screen photo of the Kentucky burger as it appears in advertisement and in real life. (Note: The marketing photo did not feature any objects that could be used for scale, so we’re not comparing the physical size here. Instead, the images have been cropped to fit roughly together.)

Uh, where to begin? The real Kentucky burger seems to have a much thicker bun than seen on the poster — while this could be a trick of perspective, the marketing team presumably wants customers to think they’re getting more fillings than bread, which is clearly not the case. The chicken patty is visibly oilier too, with a less crunchy looking coating.

However, these are small potatoes compared to the coleslaw — it looks completely gross and bears almost no resemblance to the poster. In place of the lovely medley of carrots, cabbags and mayo, you get a swamp of glistening, unidentifiable lumps which look suspiciously like hocked-up loogies. Lovely.

Truth rating: 4/10

Here’s the Zinger Stacker, which has been given the same split-screen treatment:

This one isn’t much better really. We suppose the chicken looks okay, but everything else leaves much to be desired. The sauce is not only less abundant but a completely different colour (for the record, they didn’t accidentally give us the wrong one; it was definitely chilli.)

The cheese requires no critique — just look at it. While you can’t see it in the photo, the lettuce was white and cheap looking with none of the poster’s fresh greenery. All in all, a disappointing effort.

Truth rating: 5/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.