Chipotle launches cauliflower rice nationwide as consumers cut grains from their diets

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill on Monday began offering a cauliflower rice option to attract consumers trying to comply with their New Year’s resolutions.

The rice substitute is made with grilled cauliflower, cilantro, lime and salt and will be available in U.S. and Canadian restaurants for a limited time. The option will cost an additional $2 for tacos, burritos or bowls.

Chipotle started testing the item at select locations in Colorado and Wisconsin this July. The company said that before the test, one-third of new menu requests from customers was for cauliflower rice. The rice substitute has grown popular as more consumers cut grains out of their diet. In the test markets, nearly 1 in 3 customers who chose cauliflower rice was an infrequent or new Chipotle customer.

To promote the nationwide launch, Chipotle is also extending its line of Lifestyle Bowls, which began two years earlier to attract consumers who were trying to follow strict diets. The new variations on Whole30, ketogenic, vegetarian and vegan Lifestyle Bowls will include cauliflower rice. The options are available for digital orders only.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said in April that the chain is developing other menu items but the coronavirus pandemic has delayed some launches. It began testing brisket in select markets in November. While the burrito chain still has fewer limited-time launches than fast-food chains, it has been expanding its offerings under Niccol, who previously led Yum Brands’ Taco Bell.

Shares of Chipotle gained 65% in 2020, fueled by its strong digital growth and surging same-store sales, despite the pandemic. The stock had a market value of $38.8 billion as of Thursday’s close.

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