Taco Bell tested three fake meat products in three areas, according to Axios.
In Birmingham, Alabama it tested out “The Crisp Melt Taco,” which was stuffed with a blend of soy and pea proteins. In Dayton, Ohio, it tested “The Beyond Carne Asada Steak,” which is based on wheat and faba beans. And in Irvine California, it tested “The Naked Chalupa,” which substituted a pea protein blend for meat.
Mark King, Taco Bell’s CEO, expressed an understanding of the market’s response, with an optimism for these meat substitutes.
“We’re very committed” to the meatless project, he said. “I do think it would work better if it was in areas that are much more open and interested in [them]. The question, is how do you market it?”
The fake meat products have failed in more areas than Taco Bell.
In August, McDonald’s also pulled its fake meat product after a trial run, according to Fox 32 Chicago. Cracker Barrel faced immense conservative backlash this summer for introducing fake meat into its menu.
One customer on Facebook addressed his frustrations with Cracker Barrel.
“Are you kidding me? Who do you think your customer base is?” he said. “I still order the double meat breakfast and it’s not even on the menu anymore.”
All three launches were partnered with the company Beyond Meat, which reported identifying “ongoing softness in the plant-based meat category,” according to Axios.
Arun Sundaram, a CFRA Research analyst, told Axios this is a systemic problem for the fake meat industry.
“These items are priced at a premium, so people are trading back down to animal meat,” he told Axios.
While the products are more expensive, social media users have produced another answer as to why the country is rejecting these products. Many Americans view the attempt to alter the American diet, especially, as reported, by adding bugs and plant based proteins, as an attack on their dignity.
The internet’s response to these fake meat and bug meat products is the viral meme, “I will not live in a pod and I will not eat the bugs.”