It appears Taco Bell will not be joining so many of its fast-food brethren in the land of fake meat. After announcing in January that it would be testing its first dedicated vegetarian menu this year, Taco Bell revealed on Wednesday that the chain is not planning on working with Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods to add plant-based meat to its menu.
“We’ve met with Beyond, we’ve met with Impossible,” Julie Felss Masino, Taco Bell’s president of North American operations, told CNBC. “But I think what we’re proud of is that we’ve been doing vegetarian for 57 years.”
While other chains like Burger King, White Castle, and even taco competitor Del Taco have focused on meatless beef alternatives, Masino told Insider that Taco Bell is doubling down on its existing vegetarian protein options: the refried beans, black beans, and potatoes that already make Taco Bell an attractive option for non-meat eaters.
Taco Bell, which is the only American Vegetarian Association-certified fast-food chain in the country, boasts a relatively vegetarian-friendly menu, thanks in part to flexible personalization options. According to a company blog post, approximately nine percent of all items ordered at Taco Bell are either vegetarian or made vegetarian by customization, accounting for the sale of 350 million vegetarian items a year. The bean burrito — consisting of refried beans, cheese, onions, and red sauce in a tortilla — is Taco Bell’s no. 2 best-selling item, CNBC reports.