Taco Bell announced it will add plant-based meat to its menu in the next year.
Last fall, the Mexican-inspired fast-food chain debuted a dedicated vegetarian menu. It featured two new menu items: a Vegetarian Crunchwrap Supreme and a Vegetarian Quesarito.
At the start of 2020, the chain vowed to continue providing “the most vegetarian choices” and to make it even easier for customers to order them.
Now, the company is embracing veganism as consumer demand for plant-based products grows, especially in the fast-food sector.
“We definitely see that plant-based protein has a place on the menu,” Taco Bell CEO Mark King told Bloomberg Green.
The fast-food chain is still deciding which plant-based options to add to the menu. King says the company met with Beyond Meat Inc. and Impossible Foods Inc. in recent months
King sampled Beyond Meat’s items just last week and says he’s a fan. “I tried all the food which was really exciting, and way beyond my expectation.”
Taco Bell Embraces Veganism Internationally
According to Fast Company, monthly average searches for the word “vegan” along with names of major fast-food chains rose 12 percent from 2018 to 2019.
The words “vegan Taco Bell” ranked number one, yielding 456,500 total searches from January 2018 to August 2019.
By comparison, “vegan Starbucks” came in second with 216,500 total searches, and “vegan Burger King” came in third with 127,700.
The arrival of vegan meat to Taco Bells in the US comes on the heels of a shift towards veganism in chains overseas.
Last fall, Taco Bell China added OmniPork, vegan pork that looks and tastes like animal-derived pork, to its menu for a limited time.
The vegan pork is made from shiitake mushrooms, pea protein, soy protein, and rice protein.
Taco Bell Spain also added plant-based meat to its menu last year.
The meat-free meat is made from oats and beans and is marinated in a sauce with “secret Taco Bell spices.”
Customers can substitute the new oat meat in place of animal-based meats in any of Taco Bell’s menu options.
Taco Bell launched a limited-time menu featuring the oat-based meat in London locations last May.