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Why Are Some People So Angry About Chick-fil-A's Cauliflower Sandwich?

The chain is testing the new cauliflower sandwich in select markets.

Chick-fil-A fans can always count on the restaurant chain to deliver chicken, chicken, and more chicken. Between its range of sandwiches, salads, and nuggets, Chick-fil-A menu items that don't feature either fried or grilled chicken are few and far between. So it may not come as a surprise that Chick-fil-A's announcement of its first-ever veggie sandwich this week, which replaces the traditional chicken with cauliflower, has customers divided.

While some commended Chick-fil-A on social media for offering the new veggie-based item, others were completely outraged that the chain would sell a sandwich that strays from its roots—both culinary and ideological. In the comments section under an article about the Cauliflower Sandwich that Chick-fil-A retweeted, some Twitter users accused the company of becoming too "woke." They even vowed to stop eating at Chick-fil-A, which is known to be guided by Christian values and has faced controversy over past donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations. All because of some cauliflower.

"Not a penny more spent on your woke agenda," @MomOTMountain tweeted.

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The brand began testing the controversial cauliflower sandwich in select stores in Colorado, South Carolina, and North Carolina on Feb. 13. Apart from the fact that it replaces chicken with a hunk of cauliflower, it is prepared in a very similar fashion to the chain's chicken sandwiches. The cauliflower is marinated, breaded in the brand's signature seasoning, pressure cooked and served on a toasted bun with two pickle chips.

Chick-fil-A isn't the first chain restaurant to be criticized for adding a plant-based item to its menu. When Cracker Barrel launched a meatless sausage patty last year, it similarly faced a wave of backlash for what some customers described as a "woke" decision.

Other critics of the Cauliflower Sandwich were more focused on whether it could live up to its poultry counterpart.

"Let's go to the chicken place for cauliflower?" @ghostofcoals tweeted mockingly.

Though Chick-fil-A is marketing the sandwich as "plant-forward," it does not consider it to be vegetarian because of its cooking environment. This has drawn additional confusion and ire from customers who questioned why Chick-fil-A would develop a veggie sandwich without making it fully vegetarian-friendly.

"I wonder what the point of a cauliflower sandwich was if not to be a vegetarian option, or low calorie? [It's] still breaded and deep fried," Reddit user u/Zealousideal-List779 wrote.

In a statement shared with Eat This, Not That!, Chick-fil-A said that the "decision to step into the plant-forward space came directly from customer feedback asking for more variety and the opportunity to flex their diets by incorporating more vegetables into their meals."

"We created the Chick-fil-A Cauliflower Sandwich to continue providing our guests with quality food and excellent service," the chain added. "​And rest assured, the Original Chicken Sandwich isn't going anywhere!"

UPDATE: February 15, 2023
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Chick-fil-A's Twitter page disabled the comments for a post announcing the cauliflower sandwich due to the negative nature of the comments. A source from the company contacted us to dispute this, stating that the comments are disabled as a default.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe