Popcorn chicken was invented by food technologist Gene Gagliardi. It was test-marketed in the United States from March 1992, and had been launched nationwide by September of that year. It has been periodically available in KFC outlets. It was re-introduced in the US in 1998, and again in 2001. It was later re-introduced once again in 2015, under the name "KFC Popcorn Nuggets".
It is also available in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand.  As of 2018, it is also available in the Netherlands; it has been available in France and Italy since 2019.  It is also available in KFC India and is marketed as ‘Chicken Popcorn’.
The product is targeted at teenagers and young adults.
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