Don’t look for Chipotle Mexican Grill to join the ever-growing ranks of brands adding faux meats such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger to their menus.
The fast-casual burrito-and-bowl chain, which is in the midst of a massive turnaround, said this week that it would only offer its vegan, tofu-based Sofritas as a meatless protein option, not one of the other popular meat substitutes.
“We have great appreciation and respect for the work that plant-based alternative companies are doing, however, Chipotle’s food with integrity principles include serving responsibly sourced, classically cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives,” a company spokesperson said in an email to Restaurant Business.
Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said in an interview this week with Bloomberg that the meat substitutes are too processed for the Newport Beach, Calif-based chain, prompting Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown to invite Chipotle to tour its factory in Columbia, Mo., according to media reports.
Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods rely on processed ingredients like pea protein and genetically modified soy to give their plant-based products the flavor and texture of meat.
On Wednesday, Dunkin’ announced that it is testing a Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich, with plans for a future nationwide rollout.
Beyond Meat went public in May and has seen its stock price soar, due in large part to sales demand from restaurant brands such as Carl’s Jr. and Del Taco.