Chipotle is putting meat-free chorizo on the menu

Chipotle plant-based chorizo press shot
The meat-free chorizo has been in the works for around a year. Chipotle
  • Chipotle is testing out meat-free chorizo made from pea protein, Bloomberg reported.
  • It plans to trial the chorizo at around 100 restaurants in Denver, Indianapolis, and California.
  • Vegetarian sales currently make up less than 20% of the company’s total sales.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chipotle is making its first foray into “fake meat” by testing out a new plant-based chorizo in select restaurants, Bloomberg first reported.

The meat-free chorizo, which has been in the works for around a year, is made from pea protein, ancho chili and chipotle, peppers, tomato paste, crushed garlic, olive oil, and smoked paprika, the chain said in a press release.

Chipotle plans to test the vegan chorizo at around 100 stores in Denver, Indianapolis, and Orange County, California, Bloomberg reported. It said in the release that it had already started trials in Denver and Indianapolis.

The product’s nationwide roll-out depends on feedback for the trial, it said.

The taco and burrito chain has sold vegan soy-based sofritas since 2014 and it sells burritos and tacos with vegetable fillings rather than meat. However, the new chorizo will be its first plant-based meat product.

Chipotle is shunning fake meat giants like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods and is making its plant-based chorizo in-house.

This is so that it can avoid unhealthy additives, Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer, told Bloomberg. “They’re too processed for us, and they contain a lot of ingredients we would never have in our restaurants,” Brandt said. He did not name Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods.

Brandt said that Chipotle’s entire menu was made with 53 ingredients.

He said that vegetarian sales made up less than 20% of the company’s total sales but there was “definitely” a lot of interest in meat-free products.

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Other fast food chains are expanding their meat-free menus and many are working with the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

Panda Express’s vegan orange chicken, made in partnership with Beyond Meat, sold out in all of its California locations in just two weeks.

Other chains are also making their meat-free options in-house. Taco Bell is testing a protein made from chickpeas and peas, which can be swapped into nearly every menu item to make them vegan, Insider’s Mary Meisenzahl reported.