El Pollo Loco is now offering plant-based chicken systemwide through its new Chickenless Pollo Taco and Burrito menu items, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
The chain created the plant-based protein product in-house than partner with popular plant-based meat suppliers like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat because it “wanted to differentiate our product from all others in the marketplace and work with a supplier that could exclusively produce this product for us,” a company spokesperson told Restaurant Dive via email.
EL Pollo Loco also wanted a non-GMO product produced in the U.S., which it said forced the restaurants to exclude certain suppliers. Chickenless Pollo is made with 100% non-GMO soy protein and mimics shredded chicken.
El Pollo Loco trialed the Chickenless Pollo in “an extensive product test” before scaling the product to all of its restaurants …. and favorable customer responses made the chain confident that the menu item would resonate with its diner base.
The chain is a step ahead of its chicken rivals. KFC launched a Beyond Fried Chicken menu item last year in partnership with Beyond Meat that reportedly sold out in less than five hours at a single Atlanta store.