Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Taco Bell, the restaurant known for having ground beef that’s utterly indescribable, reportedly told Beyond Meat that its version of carne asada wasn’t good enough to serve. According to Bloomberg, the chain canceled a test product that featured Beyond’s plant-based steak after samples failed to live up to its standards.
Beyond Meat denies the report — Shira Zackai, head of communications at the company told The Verge in an email that “the test between Beyond Meat and Taco Bell was not canceled. Our partnership is strong, and we are actively working together to create a plant-based protein that’s completely new to the national QSR (quick serve restaurant) space. We look forward to sharing more details on what Beyond Meat and Taco Bell have planned in the coming months.”
The report doesn’t make it clear what the company wasn’t fond of — was it the texture? The taste? Was it just too high-end for Taco Bell, seeming more like something you’d find at a Chipotle rather than the restaurant known as the place you drunkenly get 2 AM takeout and NFTs? Whatever the case, people on Twitter have been having an absolute field day with the news.
“We already figured out how to make our stuff without real meat” https://t.co/n5WQG1Ba8I
— Mike Nelson (@mikenelson586) December 9, 2021
lol how bad did it taste for taco bell to say ‘that’s gonna be a no from us, dawg’? https://t.co/4Pnzq8T3ej
— Fidel Martinez (@fidmart85) December 9, 2021
— Clementine Fletcher (@clemfletch) December 9, 2021
That’s a bummer but also wouldn’t be that big of a deal if they actually subbed out the meat for black beans with 100% accuracy when I ask.
My good Taco Bell is at about 85% and my bad one is at about 50%. https://t.co/NUO1IWUvoQ
— Ring My Bell (@RingMyBellPod) December 9, 2021
According to Bloomberg, the two companies are still planning on working together to add plant-based meat to the menu, promising that it’d be something “entirely new.” Taco Bell is also testing out its own plant-based protein similar to its ground beef at some restaurants, according to The Beet (though one writer from Insider described it as “very disappointing”) . Beyond Meat did, however, reportedly let go of two employees who worked on the carne asada.
A few other restaurants are currently trialing Beyond Meat products — the most notable is the McPlant from McDonalds, but Panda Express and KFC are also working on chicken-like products with Beyond as well. While some may read Taco Bell’s trial cancelation as bad news for vegetarians, the chain already sells the perfect meatless fast-food dish: the spicy potato taco, which makes up a far larger percentage of my diet than I’d care to admit.
Update December 20th, 9:30AM ET: Added statement from Beyond Meat denying Bloomberg’s report.