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The Beyond Taco, which will roll out in all 580 stores of the Mexican fast-food chain on April 25, is available in a vegetarian or vegan version costing $2.49 (one dollar more expensive than the standard tacos).
The Beyond Meat crumbles are seasoned with Del Taco’s signature spice and comes with grated cheddar cheese, lettuce, and diced tomatoes. The vegan option replaces the cheese with avocado.
The Beyond Tacos were first trialed in two California outlets in September last year. Speaking about the partnership, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said: “At Beyond Meat we believe we are in the business of helping you Eat What You Love while enjoying the health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of plant-based foods.
“Our partnership with Del Taco reflects this belief in action. For my kids and their friends, Del Taco is a routine stop after games or practice. I’m thrilled that they can now, along with all Del Taco customers, enjoy delicious Beyond Tacos and other entrees built with our delicious, sustainable, plant-based meat.
“I’m grateful to Del Taco leadership and team for their willingness to innovate with speed and vision.”
‘Immense and exciting’
President and CEO of Del Taco, John Cappasola, added: “The consumer opportunity is immense and exciting.
“There is no one else doing it in our category at the price point we plan to offer.”
Del Taco joins a list of fast food outlets in the US and other countries who have added plant-based meat to the menu – notably, Burger King, which is currently trialing its Impossible Whopper – featuring the Impossible Burger.
The sandwich features mayonnaise – making it unsuitable for vegans (though it is possible to ask for no mayo). In addition, some vegans choose to boycott Impossible Foods because it tested an ingredient in the burger on rats.
According to the chain, it expects the sandwich to do big business, with Burger King’s Chief Marketing Officer, Fernando Machado, telling the New York Times: “I have high expectations that it’s going to be big business, not just a niche product. We see there is no compromise on taste, and lots of upside on things that people seem to be looking for.”
Global burger giant McDonald’s is now facing calls to expand its vegan offering. While the chain offers some vegan-friendly options including the Spicy Vegetarian Wrap in the UK and the McVegan in Sweden, it has been behind its rivals when it comes to the US. Now more than 165,000 have signed a petition launched by New York Times Bestselling author Kathy Freston titled It’s Time For A Healthy, Meatless Option (Please!).
While the headline calls for a ‘meatless’ option, within the body of the petition, Freston calls for an animal-free option, writing: “Offering an option that is completely without animal products is ideal, not only for those who don’t eat animal products for ethical reasons, but for those who are lactose intolerant or have egg allergies.”
Freston initially launched the petition five years ago. It has recently gained traction, with media pundits crediting Burger King’s trial of the Impossible Whopper – which features the plant-based Impossible Burger patty for the surge.