20 Mar 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Del Taco will roll out its meat-free Beyond Tacos to the entire chain in coming weeks, its leaders announced to investors Monday.
Beyond Tacos are made with Beyond Meat, a plant-based alternative to beef. The Lake Forest-based chain began testing the tacos in early December at five locations in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties as well as a big chunk of San Diego County.
Since then, a lot has happened in the plant-based protein world.
Beyond Meat began partnering with Carl’s Jr. on Beyond Famous Stars and other burgers.
Beyond Meat and its competitor Impossible Foods launched 2.0 versions of their burgers, said to cook and taste better than earlier versions.
Beyond Meat picked up some investors from the sports world, including Kyrie Irving, basketball player with the Boston Celtics, and skier Lindsey Vonn. Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk ate an Impossible Burger on an episode of “The Burger Show.”
[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section”]
Beyond Meat began selling a ground beef substitute in grocery stores in addition to its burger patties.
Del Taco claims to be the first chain specializing in Mexican food to offer Beyond “crumbles” as an alternative to ground beef. Chronic Tacos, based in Aliso Viejo, recently announced a partnership and now serves Beyond at most of its locations.
Del Taco is using plant-based protein to boost its loyalty program. The Beyond Tacos page on its website encourages visitors to enroll in its e-club.
John D. Cappasola, president and chief executive officer said the rollout would “come toward the back end of April” in Monday’s fourth quarter investors conference call.
“The consumer opportunity is immense and exciting,” he said. “There is no one else doing it in our category at the price point we plan to offer.”
At test stores, the Beyond Taco cost $2.49, a dollar more than tacos made with ground beef or turkey.
Beyond and Impossible products typically cost more than meat. They appeal to carnivores who want to reduce their meat consumption for health reasons or out of concern for the planet. Plant-based protein companies say their products require fewer resources to produce and that cattle are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Del Taco makes two Beyond Tacos. The vegetarian version includes cheese, while a vegan taco is made with avocado.