El Pollo Loco reformulates its vegan menu

Fire-grilled fast-food establishment updates its Chickenless Pollo based on customer feedback

The Mexican-style fast-food chain El Pollo Loco is rolling out revamped vegan tacos and burritos at its 485 restaurants nationwide, the company said in an announcement Monday.

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Customers who choose to have a “Make It Vegan” order will get a meal made from plant-based chicken. Cheese and the restaurant’s signature Creamy Cilantro Dressing will be removed from the order to adhere to the no-animal-byproduct lifestyle.

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El Pollo Loco, which is famous for its fire-grilled chicken, reformulated its plant-based chicken offering, which has been aptly named “Chickenless Pollo.” The chain made adjustments to its chicken-free recipe based on customer reviews.

El Pollo Loco's Chickenless Pollo (El Pollo Loco)

“Our customers provided feedback through our social channels. We listened and quickly reformulated the recipe in a matter of a couple months,” El Pollo Loco President and CEO Bernard Acoca said in a statement. “Evolving our customer favorite Chickenless Pollo innovation takes us another step further in the plant-based space and continues our commitment to championing making healthier eating more accessible and affordable.”

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The new Chickenless Pollo has been certified by the American Vegetarian Association due to the menu item’s removed egg enzymes. Instead, El Pollo Loco cooks its vegan alternative with non-GMO soy protein and adobo sauce.

Chickenless Pollo was initially released in early 2020. The menu innovation has come at a time when fast-food chains have embraced meatless alternatives after the success of plant-based protein manufacturers like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

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The U.S. plant-based meat market is expected to reach $4.15 billion by 2026, according to market research from Global Market Insights.