Once again, Taco Bell is leading the fast-food industry toward new heights. Hot on the heels of its announcement less than a year ago of an all-new plant-based meat, the beloved Mexican-style fast-food chain is launching its most iconic menu item in a vegan version, according to a recent press release. The Vegan Crunchwrap is set to be as popular as the original, with three plant-based ingredients giving it a bold flavor: a well-seasoned vegan beef, a light vegan blanco sauce, and a creamy vegan nacho cheese. Customers will also enjoy the traditional fillings of shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and the signature crunchy tostada shell.
Testing in Three Vegan-Friendly Cities
In line with the price of the original Crunchwrap Supreme at $4.89, the Vegan Crunchwrap is making its debut in Taco Bell outlets in Los Angeles, New York City, and Orlando. These cities were chosen due to their notably sizeable vegan populations. However, the unique ingredients in the Vegan Crunchwrap are exclusive to this offering and cannot be ordered individually or as substitutes. The Vegan Crunchwrap is a limited-time item, only available until supplies last. The Vegan Crunchwrap can be ordered in the following locations:
- Los Angeles—6741 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028;
- New York City—976 6th Ave., New York, NY 10018
- Orlando—11893 East Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32826
A Long-Standing Commitment to Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Taco Bell has a longstanding history of catering to vegans and vegetarians. The Vegan Crunchwrap is the latest addition to the chain’s growing menu of vegan-friendly options. “Fresco style” meals, where cheese or dairy-based sauces are substituted with diced tomatoes and meat is replaced with black beans, refried beans, or potatoes, have long been popular with both vegetarians and meat eaters looking for a plant-based alternative.
Quality and Flavor: A Top Priority
According to Liz Matthews, Global Chief Food Innovation Officer at Taco Bell, each ingredient, be it the vegan beef, blanco sauce, or cheese, was meticulously developed and fine-tuned over a significant period. The chain’s dedication to maintaining quality, flavor, and the ‘Taco Bell taste’ was a key factor in the time taken to launch this unique offering.
Behind The Scenes: The Making of the Vegan Crunchwrap
The original Crunchwrap Supreme, created by product developer Lois Carson for Taco Bell in 2005, sold 51 million units in the first month and a half. It was added to Taco Bell’s permanent menu in 2006 and has since been a best-seller. The Test Kitchen team at Taco Bell, recognizing the popularity of vegetarian options among their customers, committed significant resources to ensure the Vegan Crunchwrap matches the quality and taste of the original.
A Successful Venture into Vegan Alternatives
The vegan beef used in the Vegan Crunchwrap is a combination of soy and pea protein, the result of several years of development. Taco Bell first tested this plant-based beef in Tustin, CA, in 2021 as part of the Cravetarian Taco. Since then, it has been incorporated into a variety of menu items, including the Nachos BellGrande and a new Crispy Melt Taco. The Vegan Crunchwrap also showcases Taco Bell’s first venture into vegan dairy products, a significant milestone for the company. This includes the vegan blanco sauce and the vegan nacho cheese; both made primarily from soy and chickpeas, which were integral in creating the holistic Vegan Crunchwrap.
Focused on Holistic Vegan Experience
The Vegan Crunchwrap, designed to be enjoyed as-is, has thus far refrained from allowing its new vegan beef, nacho sauce, and blanco sauce to be used to modify other items on the menu. Taco Bell aims to gauge the success of the Vegan Crunchwrap during its limited-time test in the chosen three vegan-friendly cities. Missy Schaaphok, Taco Bell’s Director of Global Nutrition & Sustainability, stated that the company utilizes these tests to assess consumer response, evaluate pricing and product builds, understand operational impacts, and guide future offers and rollouts. “We never want our vegan and vegetarian fans to feel like they have to compromise at Taco Bell. The Vegan Crunchwrap took years to create, and we are confident that our fans will love the final product,” she added.
Looking Towards a Greener Future
With nearly a quarter of Taco Bell’s sales in 2022 coming from meatless items, the company shows a clear commitment to a more sustainable, plant-based future. The introduction of the Vegan Crunchwrap, boasting flavors just as crave-able as the original, further solidifies Taco Bell’s status as an innovator in the fast-food industry. As the company continues its exploration into plant-based ingredients and recipes, customers can anticipate further developments in Taco Bell’s vegan and vegetarian menu options. The Vegan Crunchwrap, a testament to the fast-food chain’s dedication to providing diverse and appealing choices for all its customers, promises to be the first of many groundbreaking plant-based innovations to come from Taco Bell.
After tasting Taco Bell’s new Vegan Crunchwrap, why not try a sustainable drink from Starbucks with their new plans for drink packaging?