DENVER, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Chipotle Mexican Grill said it is taking its tofu-based Sofritas filling nationwide as a protein alternative, after testing it in the San Francisco area.
Sofritas will be available beginning Monday in the Boston and New York markets, but Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said a hard schedule for the national roll-out hasn't been determined, Restaurant News reported Thursday.
The item is available at Chipotle restaurants throughout California, and has had a gradual introduction to other markets, including the Mid-Atlantic.
Arnold said when the option is introduced in New York and Boston, it will be in more than half of the chain's restaurants.
"Many of our customers, we've realized, are vegetarian or vegan, or generally meat-reducers or concerned about their diet and questioning about how the animals are raised and how much meat they should be eating," said Steve Ells, Chipotle founder and co-chief executive. "And the amount of vegetarian burritos that we serve at Chipotle has increased over the years."
The Sofritas filling -- made from organic tofu and flavored with tomatoes, chiles and spices -- is Chipotle's first new menu addition since the chain introduced salads in 2005, Restaurant News said.
Arnold said about 3 percent of total sales at restaurants where Sofritas is available are vegetarian. Of that percentage, about half of the sales are from customers who ordinarily would have ordered meat, mostly chicken.