What is in this article?:
- Taco Bell updates menus to focus on protein
- Indulgent menu items will stay
The chain's Cantina Power lineup drops gourmet ingredients in favor of meat.
Taco Bell's Cantina Power Grilled Chicken Bowl
Taco Bell will roll out next week an updated version of its gourmet Cantina Bell menu to appeal to protein-hungry consumers.
The renamed “Cantina Power” menu will replace the fast-casual-positioned burrito and bowl options with dishes that double the amount of meat, compared with the regular menu, and reduce the calorie count.
Additionally, Taco Bell will begin testing Power options on Aug. 4 at breakfast, including a new Greek yogurt with granola, and higher-protein versions of breakfast steak burritos and bowls.
Brian Niccol, Taco Bell Corp.’s president and soon-to-be chief executive, said the move is part of the Irvine, Calif.-based chain’s ongoing attempt to become more relevant and meet the needs of Millennials, whom he said are often seeking higher-protein options as a more healthful alternative.
The Cantina Power menu items each have more than 20 grams of protein and fewer than 500 calories.
The Cantina Power Burrito includes a double portion of protein with the option of marinated and grilled chicken or steak, along with romaine lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, Cheddar cheese and reduced-fat sour cream wrapped in a tortilla. It has 29 grams of protein. The bowl offers the same ingredients served on a bed of black beans and Latin rice. It has 28 grams of protein.
The two items replace the previous Cantina Bell burrito and bowl, which were developed in part by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia in 2012 and featured upgraded ingredients.
At the time, the Cantina Bell menu was positioned as an under-$5 alternative to the bowls and burritos of fresh-Mex competitors Chipotle Mexican Grill, Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and Qdoba Mexican Grill.
With the evolution to the Power platform, two of Garcia’s gourmet ingredients, roasted corn salsa and creamy cilantro dressing, will be dropped from the menu.
Niccol said the Power options were tested at restaurants in Dayton, Ohio, and guests suggested that the Cantina menu and the higher-protein dishes could be merged.
Though Garcia didn’t have a hand in the Power menu, she continues to work with Taco Bell on other menu innovations, Niccol said.
The new versions aren’t necessarily higher in protein than the former, which already offered larger portions of meat, but the nutritional profile is improved.
Under the previous recipe, the Cantina Bell Steak Burrito, for example, had 34 grams of protein, but also 750 calories. The chicken burrito had 32 grams of protein and 730 calories.
For the carb-adverse, the Power versions of the burritos have no rice or beans.