The future present is vegan, and the tons of animal-friendly menu options that fast-food chains have added throughout 2020 prove it. From dairy-free cheddar cheese to Beyond Meat Italian Sausage Crumbles to vegan chicken sandwiches that’ll make you go, “Popeyes who?” the 2020 vegan fast-food scene has been lit.
Get nostalgic—peruse some of the most exciting vegan fast-food additions of 2020:
Pizza Hut Goes Above and Beyond
We asked, we urged, we insisted—and it paid off: In November, unable to deny the rising demand for vegan options any longer, Pizza Hut began offering two new pies with Beyond Meat Italian Sausage Crumbles in the U.S. Click to find out how to order the new Pizza Hut x Beyond Meat pizzas vegan.
Jack in the Box Gives Popeyes and Chick-fil-A Runs for Their Money
If you’re lucky enough to live in or near Reno, Nevada, or Monterey or Salinas, California, you can try Jack in the Box’s new Unchicken Sandwich, which can be ordered vegan simply by asking for no mayo. It’s available through December 12—so run, don’t walk, to get yours.
Atlanta Isn’t the Only One Getting Kentucky Fried Vegan
We’ve been urging KFC to sell vegan chicken for years—in 2019, the chain listened, testing tempting vegan fried chicken from Beyond Meat at an Atlanta location (which saw customers and cars wrapped around the building and sold out within hours). Unable to deny its popularity, Kentucky fried vegan chicken returned in 2020, this time with tests in Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as at more than 50 locations in Southern California—each of them equally successful. Surely, this is a sign that KFC will make vegan fried chicken available nationwide in the near future.
El Pollo Loco Becomes the Biggest Chain to Offer Vegan Chicken Burritos
El Polloless Loco? In July 2020, El Pollo Loco became the largest chain to offer vegan chicken burritos and tacos with its vegan Chickenless Pollo. Kind diners can now order tacos, burritos, and bowls—all vegan and all with plant-based “chicken” protein. Check out our complete guide to eating vegan at El Pollo Loco.
Dairy Queen Listens to PETA, Launches Vegan Ice Cream Bar
After years of offering treats made with cruelly obtained cow’s milk, Dairy Queen finally (at PETA’s urging) embraced a delicious dairy-free dessert: a vegan ice cream bar. Its Non-Dairy Dilly Bars—made with coconut cream and covered with vegan chocolate—are available nationwide.
California Pizza Kitchen Debuts Its First Vegan Meat Option
We’ve known and loved the veganizable pizzas at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), including the cheese-less Cali veggie pizza, for some time …
… but in 2020, the chain stepped things up a notch. Following KFC, Jack in the Box, and El Pollo Loco’s leads, CPK got on the vegan chicken train, too. You can now order the BBQ “Don’t Call Me Chicken” Pizza vegan—just ask for no cheese and opt for either the Pizza Marinara or Spicy Marinara sauce instead of the BBQ base. You can also add CPK’s new vegan chicken to any of its veggie pizzas—check out our vegan CPK guide to find out how.
The Vegan Options at White Castle Just Keep Coming
First came the debut of White Castle’s vegan Dr. Praeger’s patty …
… then the chain reworked its bun recipes to make them entirely vegan. Then March brought New Yorkers and New Jerseyites even more exciting news: Vegan. Cheddar. Cheese. “The country’s first fast-food hamburger chain will soon become the first fast-food hamburger chain in the U.S. to offer a dairy-free alternative to cheddar cheese,” White Castle excitedly announced in a news release earlier this year. The chain partnered with GOOD PLANeT Foods, the maker of the nondairy cheddar, to release the exciting new menu option.
Beyond Meat Gets a Mediterranean Makeover at Luna Grill
With options like falafel, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and roasted serrano peppers, Luna Grill was already relatively vegan-friendly, but in 2020, the Mediterranean chain stepped things up a notch by adding Beyond Meat. Order a Beyond Burger (hold the bun and spicy feta), or mix it up with the Beyond Meat Coastal Med Bowl, featuring Beyond Beef, basmati rice, torshi, Greek cabbage, tomato and cucumber medley, pickled onions, and Mediterranean pesto. (Just swap the tzatziki for tahini for a vegan feast.) Yum!
Two Boots Gives Diners Options: Vegan Chicken, Pepperoni …
…or sausage! When you visit TwoBoots.com, you’ll find a whole “Vegan Pizzas” menu section! And it is stacked. Thanks to Two Boots’ 2020 additions of vegan chicken and vegan pepperoni (vegan sausage had already been a menu staple for some time), there are now nine vegan signature pizzas to choose from (or you can build your own). The Vegan Mr. Pink (vegan chicken, plum tomatoes, fresh garlic, and Daiya cheese), The VCBGB (vegan chicken, broccoli, garlic and basil pesto, and Daiya cheese), and the new Be-Hive vegan pepperoni pizza are only a few of Two Boots’ animal-friendly selections.
BONUS: Beyond Meat and McDonald’s Announce New McPlant Line
Bring on 2021! McDonald’s is apparently done denying how massively popular vegan foods are. According to reports, the fast-food chain will begin testing a new McPlant line of products—developed with help from Beyond Meat—next year. (This exciting news follows a decades-long PETA campaign.)
Turns out the big winner in the plant-based burger wars is McDonald’s https://t.co/JbqLwGFpvd
— Bloomberg (@business) November 16, 2020
This year gave us a lot to be thankful for. It also made one thing abundantly clear: The vegan revolution is undeniable. Just consider that also in 2020, Denny’s added vegan burgers, Beyond Meat is now on the menu at Starbucks locations in Canada, and IKEA launched a second “meatier” vegan meatball. We’re changing fast-food menus, and that means things are changing for the better for animals. Chain restaurants are extremely popular, which is why PETA works so hard—talking with companies behind the scenes, hosting action alerts on PETA.org, and getting loud on social media—so that opting for vegan food (aka saving lives) can be easy for everyone.
If 2020’s vegan fast-food insurgency excites you, good—channel that excitement into saving even more lives. Click below to keep the momentum going: Help persuade Applebee’s, Sonic, Domino’s, and other chains to add vegan options, too: