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Qdoba tests Impossible, a plant-based, meatless option

Seasoned in-house, Impossible in test at Michigan Qdobas

Qdoba will test the plant-protein alternative, Impossible, at select restaurants in Michigan, the company announced. Qdoba will put its own spin on Impossible, and season it with blend of tomatoes, garlic, smoked chiles and paprika, all mixed in-house with diced red onions. While Qdoba tests Impossible, guests may substitute proteins with the Impossible option, or opt for two signature entrées available at the test stores: the Qdoba Impossible Bowl and the Qdoba Impossible Taco.

The Qdoba Impossible is made with cilantro-lime white rice and black beans and layered with 3-Cheese Queso, pico de gallo, guacamole, and seasoned Impossible. Qdoba Impossible Taco features red onions, cilantro and salsa verde, wrapped in a warm, corn tortilla.

Qdoba will test Impossible in the Detroit Metro, Flint, Lansing and Traverse City markets.

“Impossible tastes and cooks like beef, but is made of plants,” said David Lee, COO and chief financial officer of Impossible Foods Inc. “Mixed with the seasoning and ingredients made in-house at Qdoba, the team has created a really delicious option,”

A case for the Impossible option

Lee says 60 percent of U.S. consumers are trying to cut back on meat-based products. Plant-based meat alternatives are more readily available at quick-service restaurants. Take, for example, Carl’s Jr., which launched the Beyond Famous Star sandwich at over 1,000 restaurants in January.

[Related article: Carl’s Jr. debuts Beyond Famous Star]

Meat-alternative proteins have grown with a rising consumer interest for such products. NPD, a Chicago-based research firm, reported that shipments of meat-alternative proteins to smaller foodservice outlets, comprising independent restaurants of two units or less, and micro chains, increased 19 percent in the trailing months ended March 2018. At the same time, 60 percent of U.S. consumers desire more protein in their diet.

“Our culinary team used Impossible as a starting point and added their own flavorful twist to create a product that guests can only get at Qdoba.” said Jill Adams, Qdoba senior vice president of marketing.

Photo credit: Qdoba

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