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Chipotle's newest food is anti-carb and it will cost you $2 extra

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

Chipotle (CMG) is looking to do its part to help you shed those pandemic pounds in the New Year.

The fast-food giant said Monday it will launch cilantro-lime cauliflower rice nationwide for a limited time. Cauliflower rice — which is essentially finely chopped cauliflower — has quickly spread in the frozen food sections of supermarkets due primarily to its lower calorie and carb counts relative to traditional rice. One cup of cauliflower rice has 27 calories and 5 grams of carbs compared to 206 calories and 45 carbs for white rice, according to Healthline.

Where cauliflower rice gets knocked, however, is how it cooks. It tends to come out mushy (it is a plant, after all) and often tasting like the bag it was made in. Yahoo Finance hasn’t tried Chipotle’s cauliflower rice yet, but we do wonder how well it will travel to those stuck at home ordering delivery given its finicky cooking characteristics.

Nevertheless, protecting your waistline at Chipotle via the new low-carb option won’t come cheap — it will cost $2 extra. That puts Chipotle’s cauliflower rice on par with the notorious $2 up-charge for extra guacamole.

DECEMBER 10th 2020: Chipotle Mexican Grill names a menu item after Miley Cyrus. They now offer a burrito dubbed "Guac Is Extra But So Is Miley". - File Photo by: zz/STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 8/17/20 A Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurant on August 17, 2020 in Downtown Manhattan, New York City. (NYC)
DECEMBER 10th 2020: Chipotle Mexican Grill names a menu item after Miley Cyrus. They now offer a burrito dubbed "Guac Is Extra But So Is Miley". - File Photo by: zz/STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 8/17/20 A Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurant on August 17, 2020 in Downtown Manhattan, New York City. (NYC)

But, price may not be a barrier here for the Chipotle faithful. Cauliflower rice was tops among menu items people wanted from the restaurant chain, the company found in survey results.

For Chipotle watchers, the nationwide debut of cauliflower rice isn’t a surprise.

The company began testing the item on July 15 at 55 restaurants in Denver and throughout Wisconsin. Next up for a potential nationwide rollout at Chipotle is brisket. The company started testing brisket at 64 restaurants throughout Cincinnati and part of Sacramento, California in late November.

Chipotle shares have gained 62% over the past year as consumers have flocked to the chain for delivery during the pandemic. The company’s third quarter same-store sales rose 8.3%. Digital sales surged 202.5% from a year ago, representing 48.8% of total sales in the quarter.

With some new items on the menu that its diners are asking for, Chipotle could keep cooking up solid sales gains in the New Year.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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