Christian conservative chicken chain Chick-Fil-A is well known for its advertising mantra “eat more chicken,” but the restaurant’s latest experiment will eschew animal products in favor of a “plant-forward” alternative. On Monday February 13, Chick-fil-A will test a new cauliflower sandwich in three markets; Denver, Charleston, S.C. and North Carolina’s Greensboro-Triad region. The new pilot menu item took 4 years to develop.
“Cauliflower is the hero of our new sandwich, and it was inspired by our original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich,” Leslie Neslage, the director of menu and packaging at Chick-fil-A said in a statement. “Guests told us they wanted to add more vegetables into their diets, and they wanted a plant-forward entrée that tasted uniquely Chick-fil-A. Our new sandwich is made with the highest quality ingredients and whole vegetables, and we hope it offers customers another reason to dine at Chick-fil-A.”
Customers that are in or near the testing markets will be able to check the Chick-Fil-A app to find restaurants participating in testing the new menu item at a location near them. But to be clear, this seems to be a vegetarian menu item, not vegan. Eggs and milk are used to make the sandwich and there are no “vegetarian only” food prep surfaces where this is made, the chain’s press release explained.
Chick-Fil-A isn’t the only restaurant that has turned to adding more plant-based menu items in recent years. In early 2022, KFC rolled out Beyond Fried Chicken. This was a menu item made possible with Beyond Meat, and reportedly was pretty similar in quality to the original fried chicken.
Though lowering meat consumption (especially beef) and changing how meat industries operate could lower emissions, it’s important to remember that meatless doesn’t mean environmentally friendly. Selling plant-based items doesn’t get rid of food waste, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Our systems need more change than our sandwich ingredients have to.