Chipotle Hopes Cauliflower Rice Will Catch on

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) says its restaurants will test cauliflower rice as more consumers cut grains out of their diet.

Consumers will be able substitute cauliflower rice in place of white or brown rice at 55 locations in Colorado and Wisconsin, starting Wednesday. The new option is made with grilled cauliflower and seasoned with cilantro, lime juice and salt and will cost an extra $2.

In early 2019, Chipotle sought to attract customers who follow trendy diets like Paleo and Whole30 with its line of Lifestyle Bowls.

CEO Brian Niccol said in April that the chain is developing new menu items, like brisket, but the coronavirus pandemic has delayed some launches.

The new menu innovation is grain-free, compliant with Keto, Whole30, Paleo, Vegan and Vegetarian diets and has four net carbs per serving. By substituting white or brown rice with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice in Chipotle entrees, fans will be able to cut carbs without missing out on the flavors and texture profiles they love.

Chipotle is leveraging its stage-gate process to test, listen and learn from customer feedback, and iterate before deciding on a national launch. Over the past year, three Chipotle menu items, Carne Asada, Supergreens Salad Mix and Queso Blanco, successfully completed the stage-gate process and were rolled out on a national scale.

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice will cost an additional $2 and will be available in-restaurant and in digital orders from participating locations.

Shares of Chipotle were $10.22 to $1,128.26. The stock, which has a market value of $31.4 billion, has risen 34% so far this year.