Plant-based meat is quickly infiltrating all your favorite late-night cravings. On Monday, Del Taco announced it will soon carry Beyond Meat, the popular pea-based meat substitute. It will be the first major Mexican fast-food chain to sell faux-beef tacos.
Starting April 25, all 580 Del Taco locations will offer Beyond Meat menu items. This includes the vegan Beyond Avocado Taco (seasoned Beyond Meat plant-based crumbles, sliced avocado, lettuce, and diced tomatoes in a crunchy shell) and the vegetarian Beyond Taco, which adds cheddar cheese.
In addition, customers can request Beyond Meat as a substitute for any protein in existing Del Taco items. That means all burritos, nachos, and fries can now be more animal-friendly.
Beyond Meat and Del Taco recently completed a pilot launch in Southern California, where consumers increasingly asked for meat-free options. The fast food chain says it worked with Beyond Meat to craft the recipes made with “signature seasoning” and spices.
“With a growing demand for vegan and vegetarian options among our guests, we saw an opportunity within the space to partner with Beyond Meat to develop a proprietary blend of 100% plant-based protein and Del Taco seasonings,” John Cappasola, president and CEO of Del Taco, said in a press statement. “After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from fans during our tests in various parts of the country and across social media, we knew it was time to bring our craveable Beyond Tacos to guests nationwide.”
Del Taco is one of many restaurants catering to vegetarian eaters. Earlier this month, Impossible Foods announced a partnership with Burger King (that’s in addition to its White Castle Impossible Sliders), whereas Beyond Meat already has a deal with Carl’s Jr.
Meanwhile, Del Taco rival Taco Bell is currently testing a vegetarian menu at 200 locations in the Dallas area.
Beyond Meat shows no signs of slowing down in its efforts to take on the $1.4 trillion meat industry. Last month, the California-based startup released Beyond Beef, a new product meant to taste, feel, and smell just like ground beef.
The company is also widening its footprint: In the last year, the Beyond Meat expanded to more than 35,000 restaurants, grocery stores, universities, hotels, and stadiums. It also built a 26,000-square-foot R&D lab dedicated to diversifying its product portfolio.
Beyond Meat saw sales ramp up by 70% in the last year and sold 50 million burgers since its 2016 debut. This past fall, it filed for an IPO with plans to raise $100 million. The filing stated that in the nine months before September 29, 2018, net revenues were $56.4 million, a 167% increase from $21.1 million in the nine months ended September 30, 2017.
In the next few years, Beyond Meat plans to roll out an ambitious range of products, from home-cooked essentials to snack favorites, including more poultry, pork, and bacon substitutes.
“The ambition is to go all the way up to steak,” founder and CEO Ethan Brown previously told Fast Company.