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Taco Bell says 'no' to using fake meat


SD Ag Connection - June 20, 2019

New York, NY - Taco Bell has long had a reputation as vegetarian friendly, but the Mexican food-fast chain is not planning on adding any plant-based meat substitutes from Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods to its menu.

At the beginning of this year, Taco Bell said it would begin testing a vegetarian menu. The news came around the same time that burger chain Carl's Jr. announced it would start selling a plant-based Beyond Meat burger at its 1,100 locations. Since then, competitors like Qdoba and Del Taco have also added plant-based ground beef imitations to their menu.

"We've looked. We've met with Beyond, we've met with Impossible -- our head of innovation knows everybody, and they all know her," Julie Felss Masino, Taco Bell's president of North American operations, said in an interview. "But I think what we're proud of is that we've been doing vegetarian for 57 years."

So Taco Bell is instead going to focus on growing awareness for its own vegetarian options. The chain, which is owned by Yum Brands, plans to roll out the vegetarian menu nationally in the fall.

Today, 9% of its menu is vegetarian, but customers have been swapping out ground beef for beans in their tacos and burritos for years. In fact, the bean burrito is Taco Bell's No. 2 bestseller.



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