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Plant-Based Burrito Bonanza: The Inside Story

Posted on September 26, 2019

Burritos are beguiling. At a glance, they seem simple and self-contained. But think about everything that goes into a burrito. Not just the individual ingredients but the combination of ingredients. What was included? What was left out? How were those decisions made? If you ask the Daiya R&D team about the process for creating Daiya’s six original burritos, the starting point is clear—flavor first.

Developing the Perfect Plant-Based Burrito

Yes, they knew the end goal was a convenient plant-based entrée free of dairy, gluten and soy. But getting there with unique, appealing flavors? That required research, collaboration, testing, creativity and perseverance. Here’s how R&D Project Lead  Abraham Navarro describes the Daiya Santa Fe Burrito.

“We developed the Santa Fe burrito based on increased consumer interest in international flavors,” Abraham explains. “We found there were many Mexican inspired dishes available for plant-based consumers, yet none of them were authentic enough in taste. Most were coming from Californian-fusion ideas. The inspiration for the Santa Fe burrito was based on the flavor profile of a Mexican chorizo sausage and potato dish called ‘papas con chorizo.’”

He continues, “We wanted to develop something that had a spicy profile with more rounded, flavorful overall notes, including some authentic Mexican ingredients used in traditional dishes such as guajillo peppers, cumin, paprika and lime. As we were developing the Santa Fe burrito, the consensus was to include meatless meat crumbles to increase overall protein content, which nicely mimicked the traditional chorizo sausage.”

And that’s just one of the four original flavors. A similar process guided the development of the SantiagoTex-Mex and Tuscan as well as our new breakfast burritos.

Perfecting Our Tortilla

In the spirit of this continuous development, the tortilla recipe for all burrito flavors was recently improved. R&D Technologist Sina Woerthle explains, “With our tortillas, it was especially difficult to perfect the taste and texture since they are gluten-free, need to withstand initial freezing, as well as meet our sensory standards after cooking. We really wanted to elevate the consumer experience and make it even better than before as we were aware of the areas that needed improvement. With the aim to more closely mimic an authentic tortilla, our new formulation addresses all the points that we wanted to improve upon, providing an experience that is significantly better than what we had originally launched. It’s a small change to the overall burritos, but we are confident that we are now providing our consumers with the best plant-based experience that we can.”

It can be a long journey, but in the end, new product development is fulfilling for the R&D team. “It’s rewarding when a project that you’ve worked on ends up being sold at major retailers”, R&D Technologist Sina Woerthle concludes. “It’s great to see the plant-based movement gaining more momentum, and the options being more affordable and accessible. It makes plant-based living easier than ever before. For us, it’s satisfying to know that what we develop and put to market helps fuels the upward trajectory that we are seeing in the plant-based food industry.”

Available Now: Daiya Breakfast Burritos

The team is excited to share that two new breakfast burritos are now available. Upgrade your breakfast options with a Fiesta Breakfast Burrito and a Homestyle Breakfast Burrito. What’s next in the Daiya innovation pipeline? Well, we’ll see where our taste buds lead us. But a flavor-first development process is a promise that plant-based living with Daiya will be even more delicious and enjoyable.

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