With Taco Bell bringing potatoes again, a plant-based partnership with Past is within the works


The fake meat march continues in the country's fast food chains. Taco Bell is the youngest to join a movement that already includes sister restaurants KFC and Pizza Hut.

Taco Bell, which has long touted its vegetarian-friendly options but was a curious example of plant-based protein, will be working with Beyond Meat on undisclosed menu items that are slated to launch this year.

The partners aim to "create an innovative new plant-based protein" that will debut as a test before potentially becoming a permanent offer, according to the restaurant, which said in a statement it has focused on Beyond Meat, "as the category leader a proven track record in attracting younger clients. "

Taco Bell follows in the footsteps of its siblings Yum Brands, KFC and Pizza Hut, where Beyond Meat's products have proven to be a hit with consumers. KFC expanded its chicken-free chicken trial last summer from the first three markets to more than 50 locations in Southern California. And in November, Pizza Hut became the first national pizza chain to put Beyond Meats faux sausage on their cakes.

According to Liz Matthews, Global Chief Food Innovation Officer, as part of Taco Bell's plant-based venture and to demonstrate its “strong ongoing commitment” to vegetarian enthusiasts, the brand is also bringing back potatoes that were briefly dropped for the menu optimize.

The Taco Bell announcement comes as consumers changed some of their eating habits during quarantine and demand for plant-based foods in grocery stores has skyrocketed. Americans have by no means lost their appetite for meat, but more and more people are identifying as flexitarians. It is estimated that plant and meat eaters could make up 70% of the population.

Although restaurants are struggling with coronavirus-related closings and restrictions, many fast food chains are thriving and continuing to add more artificial protein to appeal to consumers who wish to eat fewer animal products.

Between Beyond and its best-known competitor, Impossible Foods, the American fast food landscape is now rich in fake meat. Chains offering plant-based burgers include Burger King, Carl & # 39; s Jr., and soon to be McDonald & # 39; s. Starbucks and Dunkin have introduced plant-based breakfast rolls, and Qdoba and Chipotle offer Mexican dishes made with fake meat.

Even companies that have built their brands on real meat – El Pollo Loco, for example – are now offering meat-free versions of their signature foods, despite the fact that the California-based chain created its own recipe instead of using an outside supplier.

Restaurants on both ends of the spectrum, from high-end cafes to mom and pop restaurants, have increasingly added artificial meat and other plant-based products to their menus.

Beyond Meat continues to promote its pork alternatives with a free Thursday breakfast gift at independent restaurants in nine markets. The program, which offers take-away meals under Covid-19 restrictions, also aims to encourage small local businesses.


Jeffrey Rabinowitz