Taco Bell boasts some of the best vegetarian/vegan selections in the fast food industry, with the entire menu capable of being modified to fit either meat-free diet. In 2019, the chain introduced a vegetarian menu, bringing items like the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme to consumers without the need for modification and substitutes (for vegetarians at least.)

But Taco Bell isn’t stopping there, joining Del Taco, Denny’s, Burger King, Dunkin’, and a slew of restaurant chains in a recent trend of plant-based meat alternatives. Taco Bell originally touted their vegetarian menu in with pride in being free of “fake meat.” As more consumers, even those who don’t follow vegetarian or vegan diets 100% of the time, opt for meat alternatives in their fast-food, the company appears to have changed course: under the direction of a new CEO.

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Taco Bell already boasts a vegetarian menu, launched in 2019, as well as the option to replace meat with black or refried beans on any item. Vegans can opt to remove all dairy products in favor of pico de gallo by ordering Fresco style. (Photo: Taco Bell)

Chief executive officer Mark King, formerly of Adidas, took over in August after the launch of Taco Bell’s first vegetarian menu.

“We definitely see that plant-based protein has a place on the menu,” King said, according to a February 24 article from Bloomberg Green. With a rough timeline of “within a year,” this means we could see meat alternatives on the Taco Bell menu as soon as 2020.

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Del Taco uses Beyond Meat to replicate the classic Taco taste without using animal meat. (Photo Credit: Ryan McCarthy)

King has met with both Beyond Meat Inc. and Impossible Foods Inc., sampling their products as he decides which supplier to choose for the taco chain. Del Taco, a competitor in Taco Bell’s market, uses Beyond Meat on their menu. Burger King has found good word-of-mouth reviews of their Impossible Whopper. Unless you have a personal preference, the choice between the two suppliers could be splitting hairs, and would probably come down to business and financial logistics.

In 2019, Taco Bell claimed 9% of all items ordered were vegetarian or vegan, whether by design or customization. The meat substitute market is expected to reach $8.1 billion worldwide by 2026.

The numbers are clear as day: people want fulfilling meat-less items readily available on the menus of fast food chains and restaurants. Taco Bell, already a leader in this department, is planning to become even more friendly for vegetarians and vegans alike.

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Header Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Main Source Article: Taco Bell to Offer Plant-Based Fare Within a Year, New CEO Says

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