Mexican-inspired chain Taco Bell has launched plant-based protein at all 132 of its UK restaurants, targeting the country’s growing flexitarian population.
Made from peas and other legumes prepared with Taco Bell’s “bold” seasoning, the protein can be ordered instead of meat as part of any menu item, at no extra charge. This includes the Crunchwrap Supreme, Volcano Burrito, Quesadilla, and Crunchy Taco. The plant protein will also be offered as part of Taco Tuesday deals, where customers can get a taco and a regular drink for £2.
While all the ingredients used to make the protein are plant-based, Taco Bell warns that there may be cross-contamination as meat-free options “are handled by our employees in common with meat ingredients”. Additionally, customers will have to order their meals without cheese or sour cream in order to make them fully plant-based.
Previously, Taco Bell customers who wanted a meat-free option had to choose black beans, though the chain did temporarily offer a meat alternative made from oats and legumes in 2021.
The new UK launch comes a month after Taco Bell US launched its first fully vegan entree, the Vegan Crunchwrap, in selected locations. The chain previously trialed a plant-based steak alternative developed in collaboration with Beyond Meat in Ohio last year; however, this did not become a permanent menu option.
“Such a large part of our fandom is vegan or vegetarian, and we’re as committed to them as they are to us and our menu,” said Liz Matthews, Global Chief Food Innovation Officer at Taco Bell. “That’s why we took so long, months and years, to release something this special; we wanted and needed to get it exactly right, to get it mouth-watering.”