As 2020 got underway, bowls began to dominate new menu launches. Some boast a health halo to lure customers with new year diet resolutions, while others have a seasonal spin to feed winter cravings. Read on for a roundup of the latest on-trend bowls.
1. More Lifestyle Bowls
Last year, Chipotle Mexican Grill launched a line of Lifestyle Bowls in sync with current diet trends. This month, the chain is swapping in two new ingredients to ramp up the healthfulness of the bowls. A supergreens salad mix, composed of antioxidant-rich baby kale and spinach, replaces the romaine-only salad base, and a Whole30-compliant adobo chicken is now available to give followers that protein choice along with carne asada and carnitas. The lifestyle line now includes six diet-friendly options, including keto, paleo and Whole30, as well as high-protein, vegan and vegetarian. To kick off the new additions, Chipotle is offering free delivery on lifestyle bowls through Jan. 31.
2. Better-for-you options
New menu launches from El Pollo Loco are also designed to meet keto and/or paleo diet guidelines. Three Pollo Fit Bowls are on offer: Double Chicken & Avocado, Double Chicken & Queso Fresco and Double Chicken & Mango. All feature fresh organic spinach, a red cabbage-lettuce blend and chopped fire-grilled chicken breast. The keto-certified bowls also include avocado, pico de gallo and queso fresco, while the Paleo bowl contains avocado and fresh mango salsa. In a statement, El Pollo Loco says it will be debuting additional items customized to diet lifestyles in 2020.
3. Getting warmer
More than 20% of consumers now choose warm bowls, according to Chopt Creative Salad Co. To meet their demands, Chopt debuted warm cauliflower rice as a base for its warm bowls, alongside brown rice, beluga lentils and tricolor quinoa. On Jan. 6, the salad chain launched a selection of health-inspired bowls that conform with keto, paleo and Whole30 diets. On the roster are two warm bowls: Spicy Bowl30 (cauliflower rice topped with warm roasted chicken, rainbow carrots, crispy shallots, jalapenos, cabbage-cilantro blend and spicy sunflower dressing) and the MexiKeto Carnitas Bowl (cauliflower rice topped with spicy braised pork, cotija cheese, pickled red onions, jalapenos, cabbage-cilantro blend, toasted pumpkin seeds and Mexican goddess dressing). Also new to the menu are two cold salads with keto- and paleo-friendly ingredients.
4. Deconstructing the sub
Cousins Subs added the Sub in a Bowl to its menu, giving customers the chance to order any cold or grilled sub over a bed of fresh mixed greens. Justin McCoy, VP of marketing for the chain, said in a statement that requests for bread-free options were on the rise. Turning the usual sandwich ingredients into a bowl is an operationally easy way to meet this demand. Each Sub in a Bowl features the same portions of proteins, toppings and choice of dressings as its sandwich counterpart—minus the bread.