When asked whether Chipotle would be adding plant-based meat to its menu, CEO Brian Niccol told Yahoo Finance: "We have spoken to those folks and unfortunately it wouldn't fit in our 'food with integrity' principles because of the processing, as I understand it, that it takes to make a plant taste like a burger.
"If there's a way for them to do this that would match our 'food with integrity' principles, I'm sure we would continue talking with them."
'We are about transparency'
"You can come to our facility anytime," Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, responded. "Don't call me, just knock on the door. I invite you to do the same with all of Chipotle's meat-processing facilities.
They won't let you, and if they did, you wouldn’t want to see it...We are about transparency."
The news has caused controversy amongst vegans and non-vegans on social media - with some saying they 'couldn't agree more' with Chipotle's stance.
While others have argued against the decision, stating: "Pretty sure running feed through livestock and then eating the livestock is more processed than eating Beyond Meat, IDK. What you say?"
Another Twitter user said: "Anti-science fearmongering extends to both Impossible or Beyond. They don't want plant-based meat alternatives 'because [they're] processed'. Vegans and vegetarians should be furious."
The chain does, however, already offer plant-based protein options, after it launched Sofritas -a vegan product made from certified organic soybeans.
"We've found that many people are increasingly looking for plant-based protein options, so we wanted to make it easy for our customers with digital shortcuts for these bowls," Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer of Chipotle, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"Since introducing Sofritas five years ago, Chipotle has provided flavorful options for every lifestyle, while simultaneously doing something good for the planet."