Courtesy of Taco Bell
They say good things come to those who wait. Well, fans of Taco Bell and Beyond Meat have certainly done their waiting; now it's time to see if the results are actually worth it.
Back In April 2021, Taco Bell announced a partnership with Beyond Meat on what they billed as "a new innovative plant-based protein to appeal to an even broader audience." Oddly enough, the announcement came at the same time the chain began testing a ground beef substitute developed in-house — and Taco Bell has continued to test in-house plant-based items including a faux-fried chicken taco shell and an improved faux-ground beef, all while touting that, yes, an even more exciting collab with Beyond Meat was still on the horizon.
Today, about 17 months after the initial tease, that Beyond Meat collaboration is finally (almost) here. Taco Bell has announce that, starting on October 13 while supplies last, select locations in Dayton, Ohio will be testing the new Beyond Carne Asada Steak. The reveal does seem to imply what took them so long: Instead of opting for a simple ground meat-style protein, the two brands are swinging for the fences and trying to replicate steak.
"We know that consumers are looking for diverse protein options that are better for the planet without compromising on taste, so we're incredibly excited to launch our brand-new, innovative Beyond Carne Asada Steak," Dariush Ajami, Beyond Meat's chief innovation officer, stated. "Designed to specifically complement the bold, savory flavors that Taco Bell is known for, Beyond Carne Asada Steak delivers the flavorful, delicious taste and texture of marinated, grilled steak with the added benefits of plant-based meat."
Courtesy of Taco Bell
The certified vegan protein is crafted from plant-based ingredients like vital wheat gluten and faba bean protein which is then flavored with Taco Bell's signature spices. And aside from the taste, Taco Bell is also touting the protein's price parity with traditional steak. Beyond Carne Asada Steak will be featured in a quesadilla at the same price as a regular steak quesadilla ($5.19), but it can also be swapped for steak in any item on the entire Taco Bell menu at no additional cost.
"At Taco Bell, we've long believed that anyone should be able to choose plant-based menu items without compromising," Liz Matthews, the brand's global chief food innovation officer, stated. "That's why we at Taco Bell are thrilled to reveal the result of our long-standing partnership with Beyond Meat."
But as is often the case, this announcement brings with it more questions. The biggest one could be: Will Beyond Carne Asada Steak finally be the plant-based protein to stick? Despite all the aforementioned tests, Taco Bell has yet to give any of its fake meats a nationwide rollout.