With health-consciousness increasing, Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to eliminate the ‘F’ word. It became KFC. No longer ‘Finger-lickin’ good’, the brand line became ‘I like it like that’. Stories that the name was changed because the state of Kentucky trademarked its name and demanded a franchise fee were widely circulated but cannot be confirmed.
There was also an urban myth circulating in the USA that the company was prohibited by the US Government from using the word ‘chicken’ because they were using mutant birds. This ludicrous story has also been thoroughly de-bunked.
According to the website Snopes.com:
“Kentucky Fried Chicken decided to change its name to KFC in 1991 for several reasons, none of which had anything to do with governmental regulations about mutant animals:
A move to de-emphasize “chicken” because KFC planned to offer a varied menu that included other types of food. (The Boston Chicken corporation took the same approach for the same reason, changing the name of its retail food outlets to Boston Market.)
A desire to eliminate the word “fried,” which had negative connotations to the increasingly health-conscious consumer market.
A trend towards the abbreviation of long commercial titles as demonstrated by other companies’ employing shortened forms of their names, such as The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) and Howard Johnson’s (HoJo).”