Taco Bell is officially testing vegan meat. That’s what we think.

Fast food chain Taco Bell is currently testing a vegan meat option in a single Southern California location for a limited time, marking the first time Taco Bell has served plant-based meat in the United States. The exclusive vegan meat made with chickpea and pea protein (which Taco Bell calls “boldly seasoned plant-based protein”) is offered as part of the Cravetarian Taco, which was created to mirror the Crunchy Taco Supreme of the chain. The vegetarian taco is made with the new vegan meat, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes and sour cream, and is served in a crispy corn shell. To order the vegan item, customers are advised to remove dairy cheese and sour cream. In addition to the new taco, customers can order the vegan meat in protein form, at no additional cost, in other customizable options at Taco Bell.

VegNews correspondent Jessica Cruz, founder of Vegan Street Fair, was among the first to try Taco Bell’s new plant-based meat. “Taco Bell pulled it off,” Cruz told VegNews. “The vegan meat was juicy, full of flavor, and I didn’t even miss the cheese or sour cream. May be [dairy alternatives will be on the menu] one day, but for now this is something I will be ordering again and again.”

Vegan meat worthy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell has emphasized its vegetarian options in recent years. In 2019, the chain unveiled a nationally dedicated vegetarian menu board and made it even easier to order meatless options with its new “Veggie Mode” button (which displays Taco’s nearly 50 vegetarian options). Bell and allows users to further customize their order to be vegan). While the chain previously eschewed the idea of ​​adding plant-based meat to its menu, opting instead to focus on its beans as a protein option, Taco Bell has reconsidered its position and is listening to the needs of its vegetarian customers. and vegans.

“At Taco Bell, we have long been a go-to place for vegetarians,” a Taco Bell spokesperson told VegNews. “We have never seen vegetarian offerings as just a trend, and we don’t view them as exclusively for vegetarians. We pride ourselves on being a place where every lifestyle type can find exactly what they crave, and we’re always listening to our fans – vegetarians, curious vegetarians and meat eaters. So we’re excited to jump into plant-based meat and bring even more plant-based offerings to the masses.

The Cravetarian Taco is priced at $2.19 each and is available now through April 29 (or while supplies last) at the Taco Bell location at 14042 Red Hill Ave. in Tustin, California. If the new option is received positively by customers and employees, Taco Bell will consider expanding plant-based meat testing sites.

Vegan at Taco Bell

Last summer, Taco Bell removed its favorite veggie seasoned potatoes from its menu. However, after public outcry and at least one in-person protest, Taco Bell reinstated the potatoes in March and announced it was working with Beyond Meat. Testing the new vegan meat does not replace Taco Bell’s partnership with Beyond Meat, which will see an innovative plant-based meat option announced over the next year.

“At the start of 2021, at Taco Bell, we reiterated our continued commitment to providing more vegetarian options throughout the year. As we work to create a new protein with Beyond Meat that is unique and something not yet seen in the industry, we are simultaneously testing other meatless options,” the spokesperson said. “Our Seasoned Beef is an integral part of our menu and we know our fans are now looking for more plant-based protein options, so we wanted to explore another addition to our already extensive vegetarian range. Our history of innovation never stops.

While Taco Bell is currently focused on developing new plant-based meat options, the chain isn’t ruling out the possibility of adding dairy alternatives such as vegan cheese and dairy-free sour cream. on its menu in the future. “As you well know, we are constantly listening to our fans and we never say never,” the spokesperson said. “Every test item and every menu change is highly intentional, and our current focus is on plant-based meats. We’ve made room on the menu for new products, so there’s more to come in 2021 as we continue behind-the-scenes product innovation and testing.

Taco Bell is also working to make all of its consumer-facing packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 in restaurants around the world. To that end, Taco Bell is partnering with international recycling leader TerraCycle to develop a way to recycle its hot sauce packets. Currently, there is no recycling solution for single-use condiment pouches that are made from flexible film packaging. However, TerraCycle will launch a pilot program this year to help Taco Bell reduce the waste generated from the 8.2 million packets of hot sauce its US customers use each year.

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