American restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG) has launched a limited-time plant-based chorizo and added new lifestyle bowls to its menu starting on January 3, 2022. However, shares slipped 3.3% to close at $1,690.67 after the news.
The latest entrant in CMG’s menu is the non-meat-based chorizos, which will be available at U.S. restaurants, on the Chipotle app, Chipotle.com, and with third-party delivery providers.
The meatless chorizos are vegan-certified and are loaded with 16 grams of protein per 4oz serving. The company has innovated the product while maintaining the original flavor and crunchiness.
The company had tested these chorizos in August 2021 in Denver and Indianapolis, and decided to launch the product nationwide after receiving positive consumer feedback and implementing suggestions.
Additionally, the company also launched three new lifestyle bowls loaded with plant-based chorizo to its menu, which will only be available on the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com.
Furthermore, the company said that it will not charge any delivery fee for the meatless chorizo orders between January 3 and January 9, and a similar offer on the new lifestyle bowls will start from January 3.
Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer of Chipotle, said, “We are thrilled to introduce guests to our new, flavor-packed Plant-Based Chorizo during a season when healthier options are top of mind… Plant-Based Chorizo is our best chorizo ever and proves that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to enjoy a vegan or vegetarian protein.”
Following the news, Stephens analyst James Rutherford called the launch a promising innovation that will drive traffic. Rutherford reiterated his Buy rating on the stock and price target of $2,150, which implies 27.2% upside potential to current levels.
Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 15 Buys and 7 Holds. The average Chipotle Mexican Grill price target of $1,950.90 implies 15.4% upside potential to current levels. Shares have gained 28.2% over the past year.
According to the TipRanks Risk Factors tool, CMG stock is at risk mainly from two factors: Production and Legal & Regulatory, which contribute 29% and 21% to the total 24 risks identified for the stock, respectively. Chipotle Mexican Grill earnings report for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 is scheduled for February 8, 2022.