Frito-Lay Helps Taco Bell Reinvent the Taco Shell, Tastes Like Beefy, Cheesy Doritos

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After a successful test run in three American cities, Taco Bell last Thursday rolled out its newest menu item--Doritos Locos Tacos, a new crunchy taco with a shell made with Frito-Lay's nacho cheese-flavored Doritos chips and filled with beef, lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese.

The Irvine-based subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc. tested the new taco shell for a whole year at three of its restaurants in Bakersfield and Fresno, Calif. and in Toledo, Ohio. It seemed to be popular among consumers so now it's available nationwide, at participating restaurants of course.

"It was a flavor pairing waiting to happen," said Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed. "Glen Bell always listened to the consumer and was an explorer in the industry in terms of helping shape Taco Bell around what the fans wanted."

Following the test run in three cities, Taco Bell implemented a massive marketing campaign utilizing television commercials, radio and social media, one of their biggest in recent history.

Taco Bell is hyping the campaign by sending 135,000 of its employees a launch box with t-shirts, coupons and brochures with company propaganda.

Creed said that the company produced more than 50 million tacos in anticipation for the launch.

Customers can snag one of these cheesy, crunchy concoctions for $1.29 (with 170 calories and 9 grams of fat if you care) for a regular taco and $1.69 (200 calories and 11 grams of fat) for a supreme with tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream (does it really matter if it's reduced fat?).

The tacos are available in a big box meal that includes a Doritos Locos Taco supreme, a Burrito supreme, a regular crunch taco and a medium drink. They are also available in Fresco style for customers looking for healthier options.

Nacho cheese won't be the only flavor, Taco Bell plans to release the another popular flavor taco shell, Cool Ranch, this fall. "With the wide range of Doritos flavors available, the possibilities for this product platform are endless," said Creed.

With both companies having been around for a while, the pairing seems kind of obvious, why did it take so long? Some customers wondered the same thing.

"The Doritos are already cheesy as it is, I was afraid that taste of the shell would hide the taste of the taco," says one customer, Bianca Iglesias, 30, seconds before biting into the new taco for the first time. "Before this I was already making taco salads with Doritos chips."

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