After a limited-edition pilot announced over the summer, Panda Express announced this morning that it will be bringing Beyond Meat-based orange chicken to 70 locations across the U.S. Initially introduced at a handful of locations in New York City and Southern California, the plant-based entrée is coming to additional locations in California, New York, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
“We received an overwhelmingly positive guest response when we introduced Beyond The Original Orange Chicken at select locations earlier this year,” Panda Express’ Executive Director of Culinary Innovation Jimmy Wang said in a release. “In fact, we wok-fired more than 1,300 pounds of Beyond The Original Orange Chicken in just the first day. “It’s one of Panda’s most successful regional launches to date, which further reinforces the desire we’re seeing from our guests for more diverse and plant-based options.”
For the America Chinese fast-food chain, a partnership with Beyond is an opportunity to expand its non-meat menu, which currently includes eggplant tofu, super greens, chow mein and vegetable spring rolls. The company also lists brown and white rice as examples of its vegetarian menu items, which is probably as good a sign as any that the company’s got a ways to go on that front.
Anything that offers an alternative to meat consumption is probably a net positive in the end. In addition to Panda Express, Beyond has provided various meat alternatives to Pizza Hut, KFC, Denny’s and Dunkin’. The new meatless orange chicken is available at those new locations starting today.