Taco Bell is determined to cash in on a $2.8 billion industry

Taco bell 7 layerTaco BellTaco Bell’s meat-free 7-Layer Burrito

Taco Bell wants to win over vegetarian customers.

The fast-food chain published a blog post on how to eat vegetarian and meatless at Taco Bell on Monday.

“There are so many restaurants you just can’t eat at, and generally fast food isn’t even an option. Until Taco Bell,” reads the post. “Taco Bell sells 350 million vegetarian items a year and about 7% of all items ordered at Taco Bell are either vegetarian-friendly or made vegetarian-friendly by substitution or removal.”

Taco Bell goes on to list 11 American Vegetarian Association-certified vegetarian options, from the breakfast soft taco without bacon to the 7-layer burrito.

The chain rolled out an American Vegetarian Association-certified menu last October. More generally, Taco Bell benefits from the ease with which customers can substitute beans and rice for meat in most menu offerings.

“Vegetarian has been really big for us recently,” because of its relevance to millennials, Taco Bell’s dietitian and product developer Missy Nelson told Business Insider in February.

“We just really encourage people to customise to however it fits their lifestyle,” says Nelson.

Vegetarians were gravitating towards Taco Bell even before the chain began establishing itself as the meat-free fast-food chain of choice.

“The one saving grace in all of the fast food world was Taco Bell,” Khushbu Shah wrote in an article about growing up vegetarian in Mic. “It was the sole restaurant at which we weren’t limited to some sad grilled cheese from the kids’ menu, a limp salad or a pathetic excuse for a veggie burger.”

The vegetarian market is a $2.8 billion-a-year industry, according to the Specialty Food Association, and about 22.3 million people say they are inclined to follow a vegetarian diet. For Taco Bell, tapping into that market isn’t just a kind move for vegetarian customers — it’s also business savvy one.

NOW WATCH: We tried Taco Bell’s new Quesalupa

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