(NaturalNews) Longtime fans of Chipotle's bacon-simmered pinto beans will soon have to accept a vegetarian alternative in its place, as the fresh food chain recently confirmed that it is phasing out all meat and animal products from this burrito ingredient favorite. Following repeated complaints from vegetarians that its pinto beans were not properly labeled on billboard menus indicating their bacon content, Chipotle decided to just scrap the recipe altogether and come up with a new one, which has many vegetarians rejoicing.
The Consumerist first reported recently that one of its readers had spotted a sign at his local Chipotle restaurant indicating that a new pinto bean recipe had been adopted to exclude added bacon. At first, it seemed like this might just be a local change, but the company later confirmed that all of its stores would soon be getting bacon-free pinto beans as well and that the new recipe would be indiscernible from the old one. However, the ingredients in the new recipe have not been officially released.
"I couldn't tell any difference in the pinto beans in my burrito with the new formula, so that's good!" wrote the man who spotted the sign and told the Consumerist about it.
Chipotle, an industry leader constantly striving to improve food integrity
It may seem a little far-fetched to claim that the removal of bacon from a recipe will not change its flavor, at least not without some heavy chemical doctoring. But Chipotle insists the new recipe is "just as delicious" as the old one and is also suitable for vegans, which means it contains no added butter or any other animal products. It remains to be seen just what type of food science Chipotle had to employ to achieve this similar flavor profile for its new pinto beans.
"We are phasing in a new bacon-less pinto bean recipe around the country," stated a Chipotle spokesman to the Consumerist. "In testing some recipes, we simply didn't think the bacon added anything and, by removing it, we make the pinto beans vegetarian."
Chipotle has long positioned itself as a health-conscious and ethically concerned company, making strides in phasing out factory-farmed meat, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), conventional dairy products and other questionable ingredients. The company even recently released a creative animated cartoon advertisement called "Back to the Start" that highlights trendsetting policies like locally sourced ingredients and antibiotic-free meats.