Chipotle is adding a soy-free, plant-based protein option to its stores nationwide, following the positive responses from its testing in California, Colorado, and Indiana locations. The nationwide burrito chain announced that it will begin rolling out its vegan chorizo protein at locations nationwide, providing customers with its second plant-based protein option. The pea protein-based menu item will join the company soy-based Sofritas option, expanding protein choices for plant-based customers nationwide.

“We are thrilled to introduce guests to our new, flavor-packed Plant-Based Chorizo during a season when healthier options are top of mind,” Chief Marketing Officer at Chipotle Chris Brandt said in a statement. “Plant-Based Chorizo is our best chorizo ever and proves that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to enjoy a vegan or vegetarian protein.”

The fast-casual chain debuted its proprietary vegan chorizo at select stores in Indianapolis, Denver, and Orange County, California last August, testing the consumer response to the new plant-based protein. Following enthusiastic reviews from 103 locations, the company decided to expand the distribution of its vegan-certified meat option. The pea-based chorizo will be flavored with chipotle peppers, ancho chilies, tomato paste, Spanish smoked paprika, crushed garlic, and extra virgin olive oil.

The vegan chorizo is slated to become available at participating locations on January 3. The entrees featuring the Chiptole Plant-Based Chorizo will be priced at $8.50. The customizable restaurant will allow customers to add their personalized toppings including beans, salsas, rice, guacamole, and vegetables. The company also announced that to celebrate the new menu item, it will offer free delivery on Plant-Based Chorizo orders placed via the company’s app or website from January 3 to January 9.

The fast-casual restaurant chain has been working on its healthy options for several years, launching its tofu-based Sofritas option. Flavored with poblano peppers, cumin, and chipotle chilies, the signature Sofritas options gave customers an authentically flavored vegan option that the company promoted through several menu items. Chipotle unveiled its Vegan Bowl in 2019 under its Lifestyle Bowls line, directed towards paleo, keto, and Whole30 customers.

Previously, Chipotle’s lifestyle bowls solely featured the company’s tofu-based protein, but in the future, customers can choose to add the pea-based chorizo to the Lifestyle Bowls. The three bowls include the Vegetarian Bowl with super greens lettuce, pinto beans, Plant-Baed Chorizo, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, and dairy-based cheese; the Whole30 Salad Bowl featuring super green lettuce, Plant-Based Chorizo, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, and guacamole; and the Vegan Bowl complete with white rice, black beans, shredded romaine, tomato salsa, corn salsa, and the Plant-Based Chorizo.

“Creating a delicious plant-based protein that sizzles on the grill with the robust flavor and texture profile chorizo-lovers expect was a real challenge,” Vice President of Culinary at Chipotle Nevielle Panthaky said in a statement. “Our culinary team has worked relentlessly for years to develop this breakthrough Plant-Based Chorizo recipe that is uniquely Chipotle and aligns with the brand’s industry-leading Food with Integrity standards.”

Chipotle customers have increasingly demanded plant-based substitutes over recent years. The company reported that it sold 7.5 million pounds of Sofritas in 2018, indicating that plant-based development is profitable for the company. The company then pushed for more vegan menu items to enhance its customizable burritos and bowls. Alongside its initial chorizo test, the company also launched a new Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice. Customers can add the new rice to any of the Lifestyle Bowls alongside the new plant-based Chorizo.

The company will run a similar promotion to its Plant-Based Chorizo deal, encouraging customers to try the healthier, more sustainable Lifestyle Bowls. Chipotle will waive the delivery fee on any Lifestyle Bowl order from its app or website from January 3 to January 31, encouraging customers to give the plant-based and nutritional options a chance.

For more meatless options at Chipotle, check out The Beet’s guide to eating vegan at Chipotle.

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