With cheesy quesadillas, spicy potato tacos and bean and rice burritos, Taco Bell has always been a good bet for vegetarians in need of a fast food fix that’s not just a plain slice of cheese on a bun. But consumer demand for vegetarian options is continuing to grow—the Vegetarian Resource Group claims that 13 percent of adults eat meat with less than half of their meals, while a hefty 55 percent are interested in meat-free options while dining out—and Taco Bell is making sure that everyone knows exactly what it has to offer.
Today, on both the brand’s mobile ordering app and its new revamped website (ta.co), Taco Bell made its official debut as the first quick service restaurant (QSR) chain to feature a menu of items certified by the American Vegetarian Association (AVA).
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“At Taco Bell, vegetarians are not an afterthought. We sell more than 350 million vegetarian menu items each year, but until now haven’t been vocal about it,” said Brian Niccol, CEO, Taco Bell Corp, in a related press release. “The recent launch of ta.co which makes customization easy made this the perfect time to move our vegetarian menu from the background to the forefront to further illustrate our commitment to delivering food that fits our customers’ evolving lifestyles.”
Taco Bell’s vegetarian menu features 13 AVA-certified items, like the black bean burrito and the 7-layer burrito, but the chain wants consumers to know that it doesn’t stop there. Taco Bell has also had 35 of its ingredients certified by the AVA—26 of those are even certified as vegan—meaning that consumers can customize any burrito, taco, or bowl to their heart’s content to suit their individual dietary needs.
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“We get it – being a vegetarian can be tough when you go out to eat,” Niccol added. “We’re proud to treat meat lovers and vegetarians equally – equally delicious, equally craveable and equally affordable.”
It’s not just an act of kindness toward its vegetarian fans. It’s also an extremely savvy business move for an undeniable demographic. Now that one of the largest mainstream fast food chains in the United States is fully on board, will others follow in their footsteps?