Choco Taco’s Demise Sparks Frenzied Response

The now-discontinued sweet treat made a brief reappearance at Taco Bell in February.

Taco Bell drew big praise last February when the chain announced that it was bringing back the Choco Taco.

The nutty treat was first produced by Unilever  (UL) – Get Unilever PLC Report‘s Klondike in the 1980s. But a decades-long partnership with Taco Bell, now with Yum! Brands YUM, ensured that generations of visitors would see it on the Tex-Mex chain’s menus throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

The iconic sweet treat is a sugar waffle cone formed in the shape of a taco filled with vanilla ice cream with a fudge swirl and topped in a chocolate peanut dip.

A Nostalgic Treat With A Very Vocal Fan Base

The February buzz proved short-lived, however. As Taco Bell all but stopped selling it by the time it would sell best, the summer. Due to its nostalgic factor, the dessert has legions of fans who raised up a hue and cry similar to that over another Taco Bell cult favorite: the Mexican Pizza.

“To bring back such a nostalgic favorite after a seven-year absence is special and to do it during our 60th anniversary was the perfect fit,” Taco Bell’s Global Chief Food Innovation Officer Liz Matthews said in February.

Evidently, belief the Choco Taco would stick around was short-lived. Prior to the confirmation that the dessert would finally be discontinued, rumblings of the Choco Taco’s disappearance started appearing on social media sites like Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report and Reddit.

But then the axe fell. “Over the past two years, we have experienced an unprecedented spike in demand across our portfolio and have had to make very tough decisions to ensure availability of our full portfolio nationwide,” a Klondike Brand representative confirmed to CNN Business.

The social media frenzy got louder, with many posting “R.I.P.” memes for a beloved childhood treat. There were tears, there was swearing and there was the one person who stood firm in a prior comment calling the Choco Taco “one of the worst ice cream treats in history.”

Others sought government solutions. “Going to challenge biden in the primary based solely on his inadequate response to the Choco Taco cancellation,” wrote journalist Oliver Willis. “America needs a president who can put our chocolate needs first.”

The growing frenzy is, at least for now, significantly more vocal than for many items that Taco Bell has discontinued over the years. The Tex-Mex chain is known for its evolving menu and many limited-time offers; between 2020 and now, it rid its menus of the 7-Layer Burrito, the Beefy Fritos Burrito, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, the Grilled Steak Soft Taco, Loaded Grillers and the Triple Layer Nachos among other items.

There were also countless limited-time offers like the cheese-dusted chicken wings that were never meant as permanent menu items.

As the Choco Taco had not been sold at Taco Bell regularly since 2015, the current rumblings are directed at Klondike more than the Tex-Mex chain. But some are already commenting on how it did not “work hard enough” to convince Klondike. 

“Are the people who decided to get rid of the Choco Taco also the same people who got rid of Hi-C at McDonalds? And Mexican pizza at Taco Bell?” writes ESPN host Vanessa Richardson. “Show your face, you cowards.”

Hope is, of course, never lost as it is not unheard of for a chain or food producer to bring back a popular item due to social media outrage. Earlier this year, McDonald’s  (MCD) – Get McDonald’s Corporation Report briefly brought back the cult Szechuan Sauce that it launched in 1998 to promote the Disney  (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report movie “Mulan.”

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