Taco Bell Debuts New National Vegetarian Menu
IRVINE, CA - If you’ve got any skin in the veg game, you probably noticed the fast-growing number of restaurants that now carry plant-based meat replacements. While this is an exciting development for vegetarians making the occasional midnight meal run, one fast-food chain is keeping things old-school. Taco Bell has long been known for being vegetarian friendly, but just announced a line of menu items specifically dedicated to non-meat eaters called the Not-So-New New Vegetarian Menu.
"While other fast food restaurants are just now dipping their toes in the meatless space, Taco Bell has long been a friend to vegetarians," the company said in a statement. "The bean burrito has been on the menu for 50 years and is Taco Bell’s second best-selling item."
Taco Bell was the first quick-serve restaurant with menu items certified by the American Vegetarian Association, allowing the chain to reach an industry standard in vegetarian labeling. As of today, Taco Bell restaurants nationwide will have a first-ever in-store menu board dedicated solely to vegetarians, which will also include two new items: The Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme and Black Bean Quesarito. Including these, the menu will feature two other items: The 7-Layer Burrito and Bean Burrito.
“At Taco Bell, we believe that vegetarian food shouldn’t be a compromise. It shouldn’t be limited to one item and it shouldn’t be just for vegetarians,” Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s Global Chief Food Innovation Officer, said in a press release.
The company began discussing a vegetarian-dedicated menu in January, which included testing of new items and menu boards. Aside from these four options, the core menu includes nine other veggie-friendly items, now accompanied by an easy-to-spot identification symbol. And if that’s not enough, there are 36 certified vegetarian ingredients, 26 of which are vegan, creating roughly eight million possible variations of customized items.
It may come as a disappointment, though, that the company claims both vegetarian and meat products are handled in common areas, allowing the possibility of cross-contamination. As a vegetarian myself, this is pretty much a given anytime you eat somewhere that isn’t solely dedicated to vegetarian food. It may, however, still be preferable to Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, which is reportedly flame-grilled in the same broiler as beef and chicken.
All that considered, I am beyond excited that Taco Bell decided to take its vegetarian focus to the next level. Keep your eyes peeled for the new vegetarian menus in a Taco Bell near you. And stick with us at AndNowUKnow for the latest industry developments.