Dear Taco Bell...
Thank you for your Guide to Eating Vegan, but can we talk about the upcharges for lettuce?
Dear Taco Bell,
We are so grateful for your continued efforts in reaching out to the plant-based community. The fact that you got your vegetarian menu certified by the American Vegetarian Association last year is a big thumbs up in our book. You even went a step further this month and created the “How to Eat Vegan at Taco Bell” guide, filled with photos and tips for how we can steer clear of animal products at your fine establishment. That’s more than any of your competitors have ever done (looking at you, Domino’s!).
But let’s talk about the (not confined nor oppressed) elephant in the room. We would never bite the hand that feeds us—we’re vegans, hands are strictly off the menu—but what’s with the upcharges on cheap-o ingredients such as lettuce and beans? Lettuce is the mere suggestion of a vegetable, a green cellulose mass of mostly water, and yet you tack on $0.30 cents to add a handful? The same goes for beans, which also run us vegans $0.30 cents extra. You may have heard rumors that veganism is expensive, but we’re not trying to go all Gwyneth Paltrow on our green shakes or Tom Brady on our snacks. These are drunk-munchies tacos and burritos and we want them cheap … or at least not any pricier than their animal-based counterparts.
To illustrate our point with cold, hard facts, we did a little math. Here are two menu items from your newly released vegan guide, with the suggestions you made taken into account, compared to the prices of unmodified menu items:
Crunchwrap Supreme: $3.19
(Vegan) Crunchwrap Supreme (add black beans; remove seasoned beef, reduced-fat sour cream, nacho cheese): $3.49
Crunchy or Soft Tacos: $1.19
(Vegan) Crunchy or Soft Tacos (make it fresco, add black beans, remove seasoned beef): $1.49
We’ll give you a high five for working out the “make it fresco,” where you replace dairy products for pico de gallo, free of charge (instead of charging the $0.30 it costs on your menu), and thank you so much for offering the Black Beans & Rice option, sans animal products, right from the get-go. Every once in a blue moon, the darling Taco Bell cashiers will even hit some magic button on their screens and "sub beans for beef" will pop up, nullifying the upcharge we rack up when picking plant-based proteins. We like that. Spread the memo on that button to all your locations.
But since we’re talking mano-a-mano, can we address the fact that in order to make an item vegan, we’re taking up to three ingredients out of most menu selections? As such, an upcharge for beans—how do you think we get our protein?—seems a bit unreasonable.
We get it. Meat and dairy companies strike deals with you, and are subsidized to create tortured animal products that cost that no more than a stick of gum wholesale. But here’s an idea: You know how your bean burritos continue to be your second highest selling menu item? Bearing that in mind, think of all the vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, beanatarians, and beyond who would flock to Taco Bell if you stopped charging them extra for veggie swaps. Heck, even more plant-based menu items would be top-sellers, putting the meaty options at the bottom of the barrel. So, let’s think: Do you really need to buy so much cheap meat and cheese from your suppliers to sustain a future where your customer base will want nothing to do with them? Environmentally taxing products that’ll just be adding to our global waste problem, and something you may be up-charged for in the future, if the Paris Agreement holds?
Howzabout we just come to an agreement of our own. We vegans will come (likely late at night) and order all nine of the vegan options you describe in your guide, as long as you promise not to charge us extra. Mm-k? And when you come to our house, Taco Bell, we’ll swap a hefty serving of kale (with a generous sprinkle of nooch) into whatever you want us to make for you, free of charge.
With love (and tacos),
NYCs Most Successful Vegan Restaurateur Shares Her Secrets
As the Blossom empire continues to expand, founder Pamela Elizabeth talks celebrity guests, tips for running a vegan business, and lessons she's learned along the way.
Read More »
9 Must-Visit Booths at NYC Vegetarian Food Festival
Books, guest speakers, and—oh yeah, food—take over New York City.
Read More »
5 Vegan Gifts to Give a Grad
Giving a vegan gift is a great way to congratulate a graduate.
Read More »
5 Vegan YouTube Channels to Binge-Watch
Sit back, relax, and spend an entire day with your favorite vegan YouTube stars.
Read More »
5 Ways to Celebrate a Vegan Mothers Day with Your Mom
Show your mom you love her with vegan food, gifts, and fun.
Read More »
- 8 Questions with Veggie Grill Co-Founder T.K. Pillan
- 12 Vegan Unicorn-Themed Things You Need Immediately
- A Sneak Preview of Plant-Based by Nafsikas Second Season
- 5 Vegan Things We Want Delivered by Drone
- 5 Spring Resources for Vegan Athletes
- 9 New Medical Reasons to Never Eat Meat
- 7 Instagram Accounts by Vegan POC You Should Be Following
- 7 Ways School Garden Projects Can Save the World
- 7 Vegan Things My Cats Should Buy Me for National Pet Parents Day
- 5 Reasons to Vote Me as PETAs Sexiest Vegan Next Door
- Brooklyn Chef Veganizes Popular Momofuku Milk Bar
- 7 Vegan Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund
- How to Become an Ageless Boomer
- Mistress Gingers 4 Ways to Be a Sneaky Vegan
- 5 Ways Going Vegan Helped Me Become a Minimalist
- 5 Stories by Vegan Doctors to Celebrate National Doctors' Day
- 5 Ideas for a Great Vegan Spring Wedding
- 5 Hot Vegan Shoes for Spring
- 3 Reasons to Eat Your Fruit and Vegetables
- My Sneaky Plan to Convince a 17-Year-Old to Go Vegan