The Industry-Changing Food Coming To Taco Bell

A fast food chain that specializes in ground beef and chicken may not be the first place you'd think to go if you're a vegetarian. Much to everyone's surprise, however, Taco Bell has slowly established itself as not just a vegetarian-friendly chain, but one that serves meat-free options that are actually at par with its meatier offerings.

In 2019, Taco Bell announced that it was rolling out a dedicated vegetarian menu at 7,000 outlets across the U.S and the next year, Taco Bell offered more good news for vegetarians, offering a meat-free version of its Toasted Cheddar Chalupa to the menu. But that's not all. Taco Bell has been dedicatedly working towards offering vegetarian options that go beyond simply swapping steak and beef for black beans or refried beans.

Leading plant-based meat producer Beyond Meat and Taco Bell's parent company Yum! Brands!, which also include KFC and Pizza Hut, have been working on an innovative meat-free protein for the restaurant's menu since 2021 (via Beyond Meat). Though Taco Bell has since tested two new plant-based types of meat in its Naked Chalupa with a plant-based shell and the Cravetarian Taco, not a lot has been spoken about Beyond Meat's plant-based protein for Taco Bell. That is, until now. In a statement released on September 21, Taco Bell announced that it's much anticipated plant-based carne asada in collaboration with Beyond Meat was finally ready to be unveiled (via PR Newswire).

More good news for vegetarian Taco Bell lovers

Taco Bell's Global Chief Food Innovation Officer Liz Matthews announced that the chain was "thrilled to reveal the result of our long-standing partnership with Beyond Meat, which is previously unseen in the QSR industry" (via PR Newswire). This news comes after reports that Beyond Meat was far behind on its promised plant-based protein to Taco Bell and the chain's dissatisfaction with initial samples (via Bloomberg).

The Beyond Carne Asada Steak, which Taco Bell claims is a "category-disrupting product," is made entirely out of plant-based ingredients, has no GMOs or added hormones, and has been given vegan certification by the American Vegetarian Association. The chain promises that the Beyond Carne Asada Steak delivers on flavor too, stating, "Designed to specifically complement the bold, savory flavors that Taco Bell is known for, Beyond Carne Asada Steak delivers the flavorful, delicious taste and texture of marinated, grilled steak with the added benefits of plant-based meat."

While the new Beyond Carne Asada Steak is meant to be featured in a quesadilla, the plant-based protein can be swapped into any item on the menu. More importantly, Taco Bell has announced that the Beyond Carne Asada Steak quesadilla and the traditional steak will be priced equally. Fans will also be able to swap steak and its brand new plant-based alternative for no additional cost. The Beyond Carne Asada Steak will be tested for a limited time in select Taco Bell outlets in Dayton, Ohio starting October 13.