Desserts have been innovated in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. One of these is the Choco Taco, which caught the country by storm when it was first commercially sold in 1984. The ice cream taco was so popular that item was quickly exported to Europe where it also became a favorite.
As a result, it came as a shock to the public when Klondike unexpectedly ceased production and sales of the iconic frozen dessert. What has become of Choco Taco and more importantly will you be able to eat it again? Let’s find out the answer to these important questions together.
What is a Choco Taco?
Choco Taco was one of Uniliver’s Good Humor-Breyers American novelty ice cream products. The dessert got its name because the folded round waffle resembles a taco shell. Reduced-fat vanilla ice cream and fudge fill up the waffle shell. After garnishing the waffle with peanuts, a milk chocolate coating is poured on top. Eventually, this coating was replaced with a crispy chocolate shell, creating a hard, crunchy chocolate shell.
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Senior Vice President of the Jack and Jill Ice Cream Company Alan Drazen conceptualized the Choco Taco in 1983. The product was first sold commercially in 1984, becoming a top seller at convenience stores and vending trucks. 13 years later, it found its way into groceries and supermarkets. Good Humor-Breyers promoted them as “America’s coolest taco.” It was marketed as “The Best Ice Cream Taco” under the Klondike brand.
This is a Choco Taco.
The Choco Taco was also sold and marketed in Europe. For example, Unilever, through its subsidiary Algida, sold the Choco Taco in Italy, which it was named Winner Taco. Another subsidiary, GB Glace, sold the product in Sweden.
Unilever enhanced the Choco Taco in 1999 by using a crispy shell. New packaging was also added to rebrand the product. Several variations were introduced such as a cookies-and-cream Choco Taco. Taco Bell restaurants also added the Choco Taco to their menu.
Why Was the Choco Taco Discontinued?
Despite the product’s apparent success for almost 4 decades, Klondike decided to halt Choco Taco production in 2022. According to a Klondike tweet, there has been an unprecedented massive increase in demand for all their products. To make sure that an adequate supply of all items under their portfolio is sustained, Klondike decided to reevaluate and discontinue some of their product line. Among the products is Choco Taco, despite the company recognizing it as a popular top-seller.
Other discontinued Klondike products included Klondike Cones, Klondike Shakes, and Klondike Sandwiches. All of these products were previously available nationwide.
Are There Any Places Where Choco Tacos are Still Sold?
No matter how hard you’ll be digging into your local supermarket’s freezers and refrigerators, you won’t be able to find any Choco Taco even in the dark depths. Klondike hasn’t delivered Choco Tacos since it discontinued production in 2022.
There was an eBay post about someone selling the much-missed dessert at $25,000. Obviously, it was intended to be a joke, but who knows? The right buyer might decide it’s worth the investment in nostalgia.
There is some good news though. The Taco Bell chain made public plans to reintroduce Choco Taco to its menu. I share the details of this plan below.
Could Choco Taco be Coming Back Already?
The popularity of the Choco Taco was evident in how the public reacted to it. Fans were not happy and expressed disappointment. Influential people even voiced their displeasure online. For example, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy Tweeted that he would create legislation to invoke the Defense Promotion Act so that Choco Tacos would continue production. This Tweet received 10.2K Likes and 1,136 ReTweets at the time of writing so the initiative seems to have resonated with supporters.
Chris Murphy is fighting for the Choco Taco.
Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian also offered to purchase Choco Taco from Klondike, which was refused.
The company has already published an official statement, saying that they need to discontinue Choco Taco and some other products to streamline their portfolio and satisfy an increasing demand other offerings. But some fans are skeptical about the truth of this reasoning and have come up with conspiracy theories of their own.
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One theory is that discontinuing the Choco Taco was nothing more than a strategic marketing ploy. The idea is that by temporarily halting production, the demand for Choco Taco increases exponentially. When Klondike reintroduces the product to the shelves, sales will soar due to the buzz. But in a July 2022 tweet, Klondike confirmed that there’s no conspiracy theory or marketing strategy behind the move.
Klondike is not blind to the demand and online chatter about the product. In fact, the company announced that they are reconsidering their long-term plans, part of which is to bring back Choco Taco. At this time, it’s unclear when or if a comeback will happen.
Did Taco Bell Bring Back the Choco Taco?
Taco Bell, an American fast food chain that serves Mexican-inspired foods has a history serving Choco Tacos. But in 2015, Taco Bell removed Choco Tacos from the menu.
But in February 2022, Taco Bell announced that it will collaborate with Klondike. The plan is to return the Choco Taco to menus at 20 Taco Bell locations in Milwaukee and Los Angeles. The dessert will be available for a limited time while supplies last.
There are a lot of Copy Cat Choco Taco recipes online.
Taco Bell clarified that the introduction of the Choco Taco is a limited-time test run. The chain often tests out its menus by adding specialty offerings for a set time period. This allows Taco Bell to gauge customer interest and determine profitability of menu items. If everything goes well and if there is sufficient demand, it’s possible the Choco Taco could become available at Taco Bell restaurants nationwide.
The partnership is also symbolic of each company’s milestones. Klondike turns a century old while Taco Bell nears its 60th year. According to Klondike, its partnership with Taco Bell is a way to bring customers to “new and unexpected places.” Sounds like a delicious place I’d like to visit.
Choco Taco Fun Facts
Here are some interesting statistics about the Choco Taco:
- The Choco Taco isn’t a true taco. It’s a novelty dessert that is shaped to resemble a taco. The filling consists of vanilla ice cream and fudge sprinkled with peanuts. Over the entire assembly is a milk chocolate coating.
- Choco Taco was invented in 1983. The dessert is 40 years old at the time of writing.
- One 83-gram Choco Taco yields 250 calories.
- One 83-gram Choco Taco contains 2 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of salt, 17 grams of sugars, and 90 milligrams of sodium. The ice cream portion contains 80 calories. Martin’s Food does not consider Choco Taco a “light food.”
- Alan Drazen, the inventor of Choco Taco, worked as a truck driver in Philadelphia. He drove trucks for a company called Good Humor, another ice cream brand.
- When Choco Taco was discontinued, Instacart searches for Choco Taco increased by 30,000%.
- According to a Washington Post article, the Choco Taco was a “victim of tough decisions.”
- The chocolate coating was later changed into a crispy chocolate shell to hold the assembly together.
- In addition to stores and supermarkets, the Choco Taco could be found in over 120,000 Good Humor or Unilever convenience store freezers.
- As the years went by, there were several Choco Taco flavors. These include toffee, peanut butter, strawberry, and cookies and cream. There was even a “health bar” version.
There were suggestions to improve the taste of Choco Taco to make it more premium. While this is technically possible, Klondike ditched the idea. They believe that doing so ruins the “childhood treat” feeling when enjoying the dessert. I tend to agree.
It’s sad to know that one of America’s favorite desserts has to be taken off the shelf. But challenges in the overall economy combined with a slump in sales forced Klondike to make the tough decision to end this iconic treat.
But there is a bright side. The success and popularity of Choco Taco should viewed as an inspiration to dessert makers. The fact that such an unusual taco inspired ice cream treat can attain lasting success should inspire R&D departments to create even more out-of-the-box products. There’s always room to innovate in the desert space if you apply creativity in the correct way.