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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 four original burritos and now our new breakfast burritos, the starting point is clear—flavor first.

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 Santiago, Tex-Mex and Tuscan as well as our new breakfast burritos. 

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.”

What’s next in the Daiya innovation pipeline? The team is excited to share that two new breakfast burritos are coming soon; get ready to upgrade your breakfast options with a Fiesta Breakfast Burrito and a Homestyle Breakfast Burrito. And after that, 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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