Chick-fil-A will test its first plant-based entree: a cauliflower sandwich.
The new sandwich closely resembles its famous chicken sandwich, but uses breaded and pressure-cooked cauliflower in place of meat.
Starting Monday, the privately owned chain, which is the third-largest in the U.S. by sales, will test the menu item in Denver; Charleston, South Carolina; and the Greensboro-Triad region of North Carolina.
Chick-fil-A said it’s been working on a plant-based sandwich for nearly four years, right around when chains like Dunkin’ and Restaurant Brands International’s Burger King were putting Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods substitutes on their menus.
But meat alternatives that closely resemble the real thing have fallen out of favor with consumers after a surge in popularity during pandemic lockdowns. Both Beyond and Impossible have recently laid off about a fifth of their workforces.
More from CNBC
Tether records surprise profit as stablecoin giant aims to put reserve controversy behind itBank of England chief says pay raise negotiations should factor in falling inflationFast food reigns supreme as inflation weighs on pricier restaurants
“We explored every corner of the plant-based space in search of the perfect centerpiece for our plant-forward entrée,” Chick-fil-A Culinary Lead Stuart Tracy said in a statement. “Time and time again, we kept returning to cauliflower as the base of our sandwich.”
Over the last decade, cauliflower has become a popular substitute for a plethora of different foods. Buffalo Wild Wings and countless bars serve fried cauliflower smothered in buffalo sauce as an alternative to chicken wings. Cauliflower has also popped up in pretzel form and — when finely chopped — as a rice substitute.