It's hard to know if plant-based meats are a fad or an entrenched trend in the restaurant industry. Despite that, market forces and consumer demands have forced many chains to at least consider expanding their menus to include plant-based options.
Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) Taco Bell has become the latest chain to acknowledge that it will be considering its options in this area, Bloomberg reported. That's a change for a chain that has previously pushed that its menu already had a variety of vegetarian options.
What is Taco Bell doing?
The Mexican Chain's CEO made it clear that Taco Bell will be adding plant-based options, but he noted that no decision has been made as to what to do. He acknowledged having me with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the two leading players in the plant-based space.
"We definitely see that plant-based protein has a place on the menu," King said.
A number of leading chains now have plant-based options. Taco Bell's sister brand KFC has done limited tests of plant-based fried chicken but has yet to make a permanent change to its menu.
Why is Taco Bell doing this?
Consumers appear to want plant-based choices. Chains that have added plant-based meat alternatives to their menus and early returns have been anecdotally strong.
What's yet to be seen is whether demand will hold up. That's a question that only time can answer. It's unknown if people who opt for alternatives to traditional meat will choose to eat at fast-food chains regularly. It's clear, however, that Taco Bell and other chains have to lean into the current trend in order to see where it does.