Yum Brands’ KFC will start offering plant-based fried “chicken” on Jan. 10

The shares of Beyond Meat Inc (NASDAQ:BYND) are surging today, last seen up 5.1% to trade at $64.75, after Yum Brands’ (YUM) KFC said it would start offering plant-based fried chicken on Jan. 10 in restaurants across the United States, for a limited period of time.

The last time we checked in on Beyond Meat stock, another fast food giant had just dropped a partnership with the company. BYND has been carving a channel of lower lows since July, culminating in a  two-year low of $60.42 yesterday. The equity has shed 56.1% over the past nine months. 

Short sellers have been piling on Beyond Meat stock. Short interest is up 8.5% in the most recent reporting period, and the 20.82 million shares sold short now account for 37.1% of the equity’s available float. This accounts for more than one week’s worth of pent-up buying power, at the stock’s average pace of trading.

The options pits are similarly bearish, per the equity’s 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.92 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which stands higher than 98% of readings from the past 12 months. In other words, while calls outnumber puts on an absolute basis, this high percentile indicates an unusually healthy appetite for puts.

Drilling down to today’s options activity, 13,000 calls and 11,000 puts have crossed the tape, which is seven times what is normally seen at this point. Most popular is the 7/1 70-strike call, followed by the 65-strike call in the same weekly series, with positions being opened at both.

It’s also worth noting the security’s Schaeffer’s Volatility Scorecard (SVS) sits at a 94 out of 100, meaning BYND has exceeded option traders’ volatility expectations during the last year.