There never seems to be enough vegetarian or vegan options at fast food restaurants, so it’s mega exciting that a Taco Bell vegetarian menu is coming in 2019. The restaurant wants to make it easier for vegetarians and “flexitarians” to find more yummy things to eat on their menu, which is just one of six other big commitments Taco Bell has announced they'll be bringing to customers this year.
Taco Bell has been a long-standing fan fave for vegetarians and vegans, according to Refinery29. The Mexican fast food restaurant is already certified by the American Vegetarian Association (AVA) and has more than 8 million vegetarian combinations, according to the news release, such as the black bean burrito, black beans and rice, or the veggie power menu bowl. But with this new announcement, Taco Bell will be testing a dedicated vegetarian menu with brand-new vegetarian items customers haven’t seen yet.
It won’t all be new, though. You can expect to see a mix of new and established vegetarian items on the dedicated menu, Polly Zintak, a spokesperson for Taco Bell, told CNBC. Taco Bell hasn't revealed when this veggie delight will be available to the public (c'mon, Taco Bell, don't keep a girl waiting!), but CNBC says Taco Bell will start testing the new vegetarian menu later this year.
About five percent of Americans say they’re vegetarian and three percent say they’re vegan, according to a recent Gallup poll. People eat meatless diets for a variety of reasons, says Gallup, like ethical concerns, the environmental impact, religious reasons, or health reasons. But Gallup found that the people most likely to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet are younger than 50, and they make less than $30,000 annually. But quick, inexpensive, plant-based options aren’t always that easy to find. Most meatless options at fast food restaurants are fried or have little-to-no protein, leaving you absolutely starving just a few hours later. So for Taco Bell to have a dedicated meatless menu that has some healthy options is pretty darn rad.
Taco Bell also outlined six other commitments for 2019, like providing higher quality ingredients by removing all artificial colors and flavors from its core menu and removing preservatives and other additives wherever possible, according to the news release. That also includes reducing sodium from its menu, says the news release, with the goal of reducing sodium by 25 percent by 2025.
The restaurant has also committed to ensuring its beef is sustainable, improving its recycling efforts, and creating more jobs in the United States, says the news release. Taco Bell said in the news release it is also committed to keeping its menu affordable; the restaurant currently has more than 20 menu items priced at just $1 and will continue to offer $5 value boxes. Lastly, the Taco Bell Foundation has more than doubled its funding goal, committing to award $21 million in scholarships by 2021, according to the news release.
Looks like whether you eat a plant-based diet on the reg or just enjoy one as a "flexitarian," you'll have a few more choices once Taco Bell launches its new menu. Until then, there's a lot of ways you can mix-and-match their menu to get the plant-based meal you're craving.