IRVINE, Calif. — Taco Bell is doubling down on its goal to become “the No. 1 QSR for vegetarians” with the launch of Veggie Mode, a single-swipe feature that allows customers to see only meat-free options on self-order digital kiosks.
The new feature will debut alongside a national menu update, which features vegetarian versions of classic menu items.
“We’ve been doing vegetarian for a long time, but that is not enough for us,” said Missy Schaaphok, global nutrition and sustainability manager at Taco Bell. “People should be given more options than one plant-based choice. At Taco Bell, celebrating vegetarian is more than just a trend, it is something we do every day of the week.”
The Yum! Brands subsidiary also expanded its amount of American Vegetarian Association-certified vegetarian and vegan ingredients, which will be used in items such as hash browns, chalupa shells and potato bites. New meat-free items include the layered vegetarian burrito, a substitute for the beefy 5-layer burrito, and the black bean chalupa supreme, a substitute for the traditional chalupa supreme.
The menu updates and digital kiosk feature are part of the chain’s larger focus on plant-based food, which began last year with the launch of its first dedicated vegetarian menu.
Mark King, chief executive officer at Taco Bell, told Bloomberg last month he plans to introduce new meat-free protein options in 2021.
“We definitely see that plant-based protein has a place on the menu,” King said, adding that he already has met with both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. “I tried all the food, which was really exciting, and way beyond my expectation.”