Taco Bell, a quick service restaurant that has long been considered one of the most vegetarian-friendly fast food chains in the country, has now gone a step further for its non-meat-loving customers. With more than 6,000 restaurants across the U.S., Taco Bell announced on Thursday that a number of its menu items are now American Vegetarian Association (AVA) certified, according to Yahoo! Finance.

The AVA certification extends across 13 of the fast food's popular menu items, which include the seven-layer burrito, the cheesy bean and rice burrito, and the cantina veggie power rice bowl. CEO Brian Niccol stated that the company has been catering to the vegetarian demographic long before the AVA certification.

"At Taco Bell, vegetarians are not an afterthought. We sell more than 350 million vegetarian menu items each year, but until now haven't been vocal about it," he said, according to The Daily Meal.

Apart from the initial 13 menu items, Taco Bell also encourages its vegetarian customers to create their own menu with a list of 35 AVA certified ingredients. Among these, 26 are also vegan.

"We get it - being a vegetarian can be tough when you go out to eat. We're proud to treat meat lovers and vegetarians equally - equally delicious, equally craveable and equally affordable," Niccol said.

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