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Taco Bell Plans to "Interrupt" Chicken Sandwich Wars With New Items

Significant innovation in the chicken arena is expected this year at the fast-food chain.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

Taco Bell has already stolen the spotlight with big menu announcements this year, and we're only halfway through January. The latest piece of news says the chain is gunning to make a splash with new chicken items in 2021.

Global chief food innovation officer Liz Matthews told Business Insider that Taco Bell is planning to "interrupt" the chicken sandwich category with significant innovation in chicken but remained tight-lipped on the details and timeline. (Related: McDonald's Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.)

This will mark Taco Bell's official entry into the buzzed-about Chicken Sandwich Wars—a fierce competition among fast-food chains for America's best chicken sandwich. Chick-fil-A and Popeyes are currently considered to be the top two brands in the arena, while others like McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King have either been testing or have launched their own chicken sandwiches last year.

"I love watching the competitors," Matthews said in a recent interview, reports Business Insider. "I think a lot of players out there are doing a great job, but what I will say is that we will interrupt that with what we're going to do on chicken."

Taco Bell has already seen success with crispy chicken items. The Naked Chicken Chalupa, where a piece of fried chicken replaces the shell, has become a fan favorite and is a repeat limited-time offer for the chain.

The chicken items aren't the only innovation Taco Bell has already put on the map this year. This week, the chain announced the March return of two beloved potato items—Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and Spicy Potato Soft Tacos—which were removed from its menu last year.

The fast-food chain has also revealed a new partnership with Beyond Meat, which will be its first foray into plant-based meat in the U.S. market.

"The return of our beloved potatoes is just the first step in showing our fans the strong continued commitment to vegetarian we are making this year," Matthews said in the announcement. "We have long been a leader in the vegetarian space, but this year, we have more meatless options in store that vegetarians, veggie-curious, and even meat-eaters will love."

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more