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Taco Bell to test meatless carne asada steak at several locations next month

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The chain says customers will pay about the same for Beyond Meat steak as they would for real steak -- a strategy it hopes will motivate people to try the new option. Photo by dcwcreations/Shutterstock
The chain says customers will pay about the same for Beyond Meat steak as they would for real steak -- a strategy it hopes will motivate people to try the new option. Photo by dcwcreations/Shutterstock

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Taco Bell is the newest mega restaurant chain to go for a meatless option for health-conscious customers, and will test that option at several Ohio locations next month.

The chain announced on Wednesday that it will introduce plant-based carne asada steak from Beyond Meat at dozens of locations in Dayton, Ohio, beginning Oct. 13.

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The test run will gauge popularity of the new option among Taco Bell's fans. The chain offers real carne asada in a number of its products.

"We've long believed that anyone should be able to choose plant-based menu items without compromising the flavors they crave," Liz Matthews, Taco Bell global chief food innovation officer, said in a statement.

RELATED Beyond Meat suspends executive accused of biting man's nose

"This plant-based carne asada steak is just the latest move in our history of crafting some of the most unique, craveworthy offerings for all fans."

The chain said customers will pay about the same for Beyond Meat as they would for real steak -- a strategy it hopes will motivate people to try the new option.

Taco Bell has offered vegetarian menu options for years and has expanded its offerings as consumer tastes have evolved. Some vegetarians already consider Taco Bell a staple because just about every item on the menu is complementary to black beans and potatoes, which many use as substitutes for meat.

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Taco Bell owner Yum Brands inked a deal with Beyond Meat last year to add options at multiple restaurant chains, including Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut. KFC launched Beyond Meat fried chicken in January and Pizza Hut tested meatless pepperoni last year.

Some food items, however, are more difficult to replicate with plant-based products. Taco Bell's carne asada steak is a good example, and it took the chain two years to achieve just the right texture.

Taco Bell is prioritizing plant-based products and has recently tested meat alternatives from several other sources other than Beyond Meat.

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