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Taco Bell to test Vegan Crunchwrap with plant-based beef and cheese in 3 cities



Taco Bell’s Vegan Crunchwrap

Source: Taco Bell

Taco Bell will sell a vegan version of its popular Crunchwrap, made with plant-based beef and cheese, in three U.S. cities for a limited time, it said Wednesday.

Starting Thursday, customers in Los Angeles, New York and Orlando will be able to order the Vegan Crunchwrap. The Yum Brands chain said it selected those three cities because of their high vegan populations. The item will stick around as long as supply lasts, which is expected to be roughly a week.

Taco Bell has long been a favorite for customers who don’t eat meat, thanks to its vegetarian substitutes such as beans and potatoes. Nearly a quarter of the items it sold last year were vegetarian. Vegetarians were also among the fans who successfully pushed Taco Bell to bring back its cult-favorite Mexican Pizza.


The Mexican-inspired chain was originally slow to embrace the plant-based meat trend but said in early 2021 it would test a menu item made with Beyond Meat. Since then, sales of plant-based meat have slowed as consumer interest wanes. Many large restaurant chains have pulled plant-based items from their menus or stayed away altogether.

Taco Bell hasn’t progressed beyond the testing stage for plant-based meat options. Most recently, it finally tested Beyond Carne Asada in dozens of Ohio restaurants in October. The chain hasn’t shared any plans for a broader launch of the product.

The chain has also been testing its own proprietary meat substitutes, including the alternative used in the Vegan Crunchwrap.

Taco Bell used pea protein and soy to make the vegan beef in the new Crunchwrap. The chain tested this iteration last August in its Crispy Melt Taco at restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama.

Missy Schaaphok, the chain’s director of global nutrition and sustainability, told CNBC that the chain thinks this take on the Crunchwrap might resonate more with vegans than the Crispy Melt Taco.

For the vegan blanco sauce and vegan nacho sauce, Taco Bell used soy as the main base. Most vegan cheeses are made from softened cashews, but the chain wanted to stay away from using nuts because of customer allergies.

As Taco Bell tests demand and seeks customer feedback for the Vegan Crunchwrap, the chain won’t allow customers to substitute the vegan beef or cheeses in other menu items during the trial.


The limited-time menu item will cost as much as Taco Bell’s original Crunchwrap. The chain said offering affordable vegan and vegetarian items is a priority.

Plant-based meat companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have also striven to achieve price parity with animal meat to appeal to more consumers.

Correction: This story has been corrected to attribute a comment to Missy Schaaphok, Taco Bell’s director of global nutrition and sustainability.

Source: CNBC

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