Taco Bell is making an unprecedented move to win over vegetarians

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Taco Bell is doubling down on its efforts to win over vegetarians.

On Thursday, the fast-food chain announced that it plans to begin testing its first-ever vegetarian menu in stores later in 2019. Unlike in the past, when customers could research vegetarian items online, this menu will be highlighted on boards touting certified vegetarian dishes.

Taco Bell also plans to roll out new featured vegetarian menu items this year. Currently, the chain has 38 American Vegetarian Association-certified ingredients that can be combined to create eight million certified-vegetarian options.

The chain has long been a vegetarian touchstone in a fast-food landscape dominated by meat, thanks to Taco Bell's easily customizable menu.

Read more: Taco Bell has a surprisingly great selection of vegan foods - these are the best options

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In 2015, the chain launched a menu certified by the American Vegetarian Association. The chain provides instructions on how to order vegetarian and vegan at the chain on its website.

"Taco Bell's menu has always been especially malleable for particular diets," Khushbu Shah wrote in Mic in 2016. "While the chain is known for things like beefy tacos, chicken chalupas and steak-filled quesadillas, there's a really simple trick to transform almost any meaty dish on the menu into a vegetarian one - you can swap any meat for beans free of charge."

An increasing number of Americans are either committing to or dabbling in vegetarianism. 39% of Americans are trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets, according to Nielsen data. As of 2017, 6% of Americans claimed to be vegan - an increase of 600% from the 1% who self-identified as vegan in 2014, according to GlobalData.

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