Taco Bell is trying out a menu option for people who “Think Mas” about plant-based foods.
Lucky customers in the Birmingham, Alabama, market are the first to the chain’s soy and pea blend meat alternative, Forbes reported.
The option is making its debut on a new Crispy Melt Taco, made with a white corn shell tortilla, shredded cheddar, mozzarella and Monterey pepper jack cheeses, a warm nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream.
That taco is available for $2.49, which is the same price as the regular Crispy Melt Taco.
Customers can also get the plant-based alternative on any existing Taco Bell item.
In fact, all of the plant-based substituted items are the same price as the meat option, which is impressive, considering many plant-based items cost an average of nearly 40% higher than animal-based products.
“It was important not to have an upcharge,” Taco Bell’s chief innovation officer Liz Matthews told Forbes. “As a brand, we want make sure this is craveable – as craveable as our seasoned beef – and to democratize the product. We wanted to make sure this was accessible.”
Innovators have been working since 2019 to perfect the item so that consumers wouldn’t be able to differentiate it from the restaurant’s signature beef offering.
“To get people to say ‘I didn’t know it wasn’t beef’ – that is the nirvana of plant-based. I think we nailed it,” Matthews added.
The restaurant has been a longtime supporter of meatless options. In 2019, it introduced a vegetarian menu, full of bean and veggie eats.
In June, customers in Irvine, California, were the test audience for its Big Cheez-It Tostada.