Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. will begin selling its own plant-based chorizo nationwide after a trial run last year, eschewing the plant-based meat makers that have partnered with other restaurant companies.
The meat alternative—created in-house and made with pea protein, olive oil and spices—will be sold in all of the company’s U.S. restaurants for a limited time, according to a statement. While restaurant operators including Starbucks Corp. and McDonald’s Corp. have opted to sell branded faux meat options from Impossible Foods Inc. and Beyond Meat Inc., Chipotle has said those products contain too many unhealthy ingredients.
Chipotle, which also sells a soy-based meat alternative, tested the imitation chorizo in about 100 restaurants in Denver, Indianapolis and Orange County, California, in August.
Restaurants are offering more plant-based options as consumers warm to them amid growing concerns about health, animal welfare and the environmental damage caused by meat production.
Chipotle shares fell 3.3% at 11:44 a.m. in New York trading amid a broader decline of restaurant stocks on the S&P 500 Index. The company’s stock advanced 26% in 2021.
Despite slower growth in the plant-based category, “foodservice should continue to bring new products and should continue testing,” said JP Frossard, a consumer-foods analyst at Rabobank. He said that quick-service restaurants “must have at least one plant-based product on their menus” to remain competitive.
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