With a new test launch of vegan beef, fast food behemoth Taco Bell is advancing its exploration of plant-based meat. Starting today, 50 or so shops in Birmingham, Alabama will substitute the chain’s exclusive “real seasoned plant-based protein” for beef on all of their menu items, including tacos, burritos, and more. The vegan beef is manufactured from a special combination of soy and pea proteins and is inspired by the restaurant’s traditional flavors.
Taco Bell is introducing a new Crispy Melt Taco and putting the vegan protein on top of Nachos BellGrande to emphasize the new choice. This taco choice costs $2.49 and may be ordered with either beef or its plant-based protein at no additional cost, which is unusual because many fast-food establishments charge more for plant-based meat options.
“Taco Bell worked hard to innovate and develop a plant-based protein that is just as craveable as Taco Bell’s iconic real seasoned beef… We believe that fans should never have to compromise taste for their cravings and dietary choices. We pride ourselves on offering food that’s delicious—and accessible—for everyone. That’s why the Crispy Melt Taco will be available for the same price regardless of choice of plant-based protein or beef,” a Taco Bell spokesperson said.
Until mid-October, or while supplies last, Birmingham restaurants will sell their special vegan beef. Customers in Birmingham are urged to speak with their nearby Taco Bell about the new choice as restaurant involvement may vary.
The vegan beef
Although the restaurant has long been a favorite among vegetarians and vegans thanks to its customizable menu, the chain has only recently started looking into plant-based beef substitutes. In Tustin, California, one Taco Bell restaurant first introduced its “seasoned plant-based protein” in April. The Cravetarian Taco there from Taco Bell included vegan beef (a meatless version of its Crunchy Taco Supreme).
In the fall of last year, the chain added 95 stores in the Detroit region to the test of its first plant-based beef. They will learn more about the new Birmingham test’s results about the viability of vegan meat on a wider scale.
Taco Bell has been experimenting with various plant-based meat substitutes in addition to its own vegan beef, including creative concepts from its test kitchen. They experimented with plant-based chicken in June 2021 at its Irvine, California test site. The Naked Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell was created by Taco Bell’s Test Kitchen to resemble the chain’s Naked Chicken Chalupa, but it was constructed entirely of vegan chicken produced from a special blend of pea protein that was breaded and fried.
Taco Bell’s Beyond Meat
Taco Bell has been diligently working with vegan business Beyond Meat since March 2021 on what it claims is a “not quite seen in the industry” plant-based protein, even if its vegan chicken chalupa shell hasn’t been seen since last summer. Rumors about this option’s plant-based carne asada and Taco Bell’s dissatisfaction with the test first surfaced in December.
“The test between Taco Bell and Beyond Meat was not canceled… Taco Bell and Beyond Meat are actively still working together to create a plant-based protein that’s just as craveable as Taco Bell’s current meat options and completely innovative to the national quick-service restaurant space.”
Missy Schaaphok, director of global nutrition and sustainability at Taco Bell, was present at this week’s tasting event at the company’s headquarters in California to discuss the latest advances about its collaboration with Beyond Meat. “I’m excited to confirm that Taco Bell’s long-awaited innovation with Beyond Meat will be available before the end of 2022… Delicious innovations take time, so I look forward to sharing more soon,” Schaaphok said.
What about vegan cheese for Chalupas, Mexican Pizza, and BellGrande’s Next Level Nachos? The chain is initially concentrating on evaluating the performance of its plant-based meats, according to Schaaphok. Although Taco Bell does not currently plan to provide vegan cheese, she did claim that the restaurant business is continually monitoring the dairy-free market.
In the meanwhile, Taco Bell is also introducing a brand-new, chunky guacamole across the country that is created with Hass avocados, fresh tomatoes, and onions and goes great with dishes that include its restored seasoned potatoes.
Source: “TACO BELL’S OWN VEGAN BEEF IS NOW ON THE MENU AT 50 LOCATIONS” by VegNews
vKind is the U.S.’s largest fully-vegan search platform and listing app. Give our search tool a whirl and find any vegan product, service, or experience you desire.