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Taco Bell tests Naked Chalupa with Crispy Plant-Based Shell in California

Mexican-style QSR is working on a potential systemwide plant-based protein with Beyond Meat

Taco Bell will test a Naked Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell, as its Naked Chicken Chalupa has continued to appeal to customers. The one-store pilot will bring to life the Mexican-style QSR’s innovation to vegetarian and flexitarian guests in California.

This new mashup is the latest product from the Taco Bell Test Kitchen. The shell is made from a pea protein-based proprietary blend that’s breaded and shaped into a unique Chalupa form, then crisped to order. The vegan shell, certified vegan by the American Vegetarian Association, is a creative twist on the portable menu item.

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To complete the Naked Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell, restaurants teams then fill it with lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and avocado ranch sauce. Vegan customers can customize their order to remove ingredients containing dairy or egg to make it truly theirs, said the chain.

“We’ve long been a food disruptor, and this time is no different,” said Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s global chief food innovation officer. “We’ve seen our industry follow patterns of sameness, but we understand that consumers are looking for creativity and craveability in this space. So whether someone is craving plant-based protein or crispy chicken or gooey cheesiness, we have something that’s not only flavorful, but also uniquely Taco Bell.”

The Naked Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell will test exclusively at the Taco Bell location on 2222 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, California. through June 27, 2021, while supplies last, for $3.49 plus tax. Currently, the QSR chain is developing a new plant-based protein in partnership with Beyond Meat, and will share details down the road.

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