Chipotle just debuted its first specialty vegan chorizo at 103 locations across the United States. The fast-casual chain will be testing its new plant-based protein at stores in Indianapolis, IN; Denver, CO; and Orange County, CA. The new plant-based meat is made from pea protein and flavored with chipotle peppers, tomato paste, crushed garlic, Spanish smoked paprika, extra virgin olive oil, and ancho chilies. The vegan meat option joins Chipotle’s plant-based sofritas options in the company’s effort to enhance its meatless menu.
“Plant-based lifestyles have continued to accelerate in popularity, and as a longtime leader in the category, we are exploring ways to give more variety to our fans,” Chipotle Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt said. “We used real ingredients to create a plant-based protein with a deep, rich Chorizo flavor that can be enjoyed by everyone.”
The entrees featuring the Plant-Based Chorizo will start at $8.50 at the select locations. Customers can choose the new vegan-certified meat as the protein for a customizable burrito, bowl, or salad that can be topped by a variety of vegetables, beans, salsas, rice, and the signature guacamole. The Plant-Based Chorizo will be promoted on the Chipotle app and website with free delivery from, August 19 through August 29. The new menu item also boasts 20 grams of protein, motivating more consumers to try this vegan protein alternative.
Chipotle’s new chorizo alternative is the company’s most recent move to incorporate more plant-based options on its menu. The company first developed a vegan protein with its 2014 launch of the Sofritas–a shredded tofu vegan meat flavored with cumin, chipotle chiles, and poblano peppers. The Sofritas is a staple menu item available nationwide. The company recorded that in 2018, the chain sold approximately 7.5 million pounds of its sofritas.
Following the sofritas surge, Chipotle executives became determined to enhance and expand its plant-based menu. Over recent years, the company shifted its menu model to incorporate plant-based diets as well as paleo, keto, and Whole 30. The fast-food chain uses a stage-gate process that weighs customer feedback and sales to determine if an item is fit for national distribution.
Chipotle launched its Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice earlier this year, introducing another plant-based option for its menu. The new rice is one of five items that successfully passed through Chiptole’s state-gate process between 2019 and 2021. Customers nationwide can order the Vegan Bowl with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice complete with Sofritas, fresh tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa, romaine lettuce, and black beans. The new rice contains grilled and riced cauliflower flavored with lime, salt, and hand-chopped cilantro.
Chipotle’s vegan options continue to grow, giving plant-based consumers an easy fast-casual destination to choose from. Between the sofritas, beans, and vegetable selection, Chipotles quickly expanding plant-based menu paired with its easy customization provides customers with a wide selection of meals.
For more meatless options at Chipotle, check out The Beet’s guide to eating vegan at Chipotle.
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