Fact: Americans eat more meat than the citizens of any other country in the world except Luxembourg, which, for context, is situated right between Belgium and Germany -- two other meat-lusting countries. We average 270 pounds per person per year.
The reasons for reducing meat consumption stack up damningly each day, including meat production's negative impact on the environment, the human body, and livestock itself.
You probably wouldn't think to look to a fast-food chain to give away free food to get you to try their vegetarian offering, but Chipotle did just that yesterday, on Meatless Monday.
Based on the overwhelming response we got to the announcement that Chipotle would give away a dish of your choosing if you took the meatless challenge and tried their new vegetarian offering, Sofritas (a seasoned tofu product), we decided to stop into two downtown area Chipotle stores at lunchtime yesterday and check out the scene.
Crowds were roughly about 20 percent larger than their already impressive regular lunchtime turnout, and we checked with several people in line and many said that yes, they were there for the promotion. One was a vegetarian and said she was excited, another said she wasn't vegetarian and wouldn't have tried it if it weren't for the promotion, but she usually orders meat-free options at Chipotle anyway. "Because you can get guac."
Others said they would probably have tried it at some point anyway, but hey, free Chipotle.
We asked two women (Melissa and Carissa -- really) what they thought.
"It's not nasty." Would they order it again? Yes.
Their friend didn't order it and isn't interested in vegetarian eating.
By late afternoon, the Uptown Chipotle was offering customers "half and half" -- half Sofritas, half meat of their choice. Were they running out of Sofritas? Perhaps. Was it just a cop out for the tofu-resistant? Also possible. Bodybuilding bros need their meaty protein, bruh.
Our verdict? It's tasty. If you've ever had any soy-based vegetarian breakfast crumbles, it isn't unlike that, but Chipotle is doing one better: Sofritas tofu supplier Hodo Soy uses all organic, all GMO-free, all U.S.-grown soybeans.
It's nicely seasoned and has the look and texture of ground poultry. It's lighter though, so it takes a little while for your brain to register that you've eaten. Definitely not the gut bomb of a standard Chipotle product, so if you're in it for that burrito torpedo you might be just the tiniest bit disappointed.
But once you've got all of your beans, rice, and sauces (and guac), you may even forget you're not tasting meat.
Sofritas is currently available at all Minnesota Chipotle stores.
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