AMerica ice cream lovers took a hit this week when Unilever confirmed rumors that it would shut down its Klondike Choco Taco bar, a favorite on dessert trucks and supermarket freezers for nearly 40 years. But the Choco Taco is just the latest in a long line of casualties over the past two years, as large food companies have adapted to inflation and supply shortages by adjusting their product lines.
“We have seen an unprecedented increase in demand across our entire portfolio and have had to make very difficult decisions to ensure the availability of our entire portfolio nationwide,” the Klondike Twitter account wrote Monday.
The Choco Taco, a heart of vanilla ice cream covered with peanuts and crunchy chocolate and wrapped in a shell similar to a sugar cone, was particularly loved by connoisseurs for the way it was possible to get all the elements in one bite instead of in pieces, since with the wand of good humor.
Some mourners on Twitter admitted who hadn’t eaten a Choco Taco since childhoodbut the pain was real. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut announced which was “introducing legislation to invoke the Defense Production Act to enforce the continued production of Choco Tacos.” Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, offered buy the Choco Taco rights from Unilever “and prevent it from melting from the infancy of future generations”.
London-based Unilever’s ice cream portfolio is vast: it also includes Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum, Good Humor, Breyer’s and Talenti, as well as Popsicle. Coca-Cola, which has an equally large beverage portfolio, justified its 2020 discontinuation of Odwalla’s Tab diet sodas and juices by explaining that those products weren’t doing well. “The goal is to drive impact and growth,” said Cath Coetzer, the company’s global head of innovation and marketing operations at the time. “It’s about continuing to follow the consumer and being very intentional in deciding which of our brands is more deserving of our investments and resources, and also taking the hard but important steps to identify those products that are losing relevance and therefore should come out of the portfolio. . “
Likewise, many restaurant chains optimized their menus during the pandemic, including Denny’s, Applebee’s, Ihop, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell, in order to maintain profit margins in the face of rising supply and labor costs.
A spokesperson for the Klondike noted in an email that there had been a constant abundance of products in company lineup: Last year, the Klondike Donut was taken off store shelves with little fanfare and was eventually replaced. from a new line of smoothies and cones. The Klondike Donut, however, did not have the celebrated status of the Choco Taco, which, according to a 2016 story in Eater, had inspired several unlikely legends about its creation, as well as high-end imitations from celebrity chefs including Dominique Ansel, the inventor. of the cronut.
Perhaps the closest analog to Choco Taco is Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza. (Coincidentally, Taco Bell also served Choco Taco in a limited promotion earlier this year.) A refried beef and bean mixture sandwiched between two tortillas and served with a melted cheese topping, Mexican pizza enjoyed. also of cult status for more than 30 years, particularly among South Asian Americans and vegetarians who liked the fact that it tasted essentially the same without the beef, but was one of the first items to disappear during the purge of Taco Bell’s menu in late 2020: The restaurant said in a press release that Mexican Pizza Packaging accounted for more than 7 million pounds of carton per year in the United States, which interfered with the commitment of the company due to a lower ecological footprint. Additionally, Mexican pizza had a more complex assembly process than other Taco Bell items, which put a strain on a smaller workforce.
But after a year and a half of constant petitions from fans, Taco Bell announced that he would be bringing Mexican pizza back in May. (To celebrate, Dolly Parton and Doja Cat announced they would appear in a TikTok video called Mexican Pizza: The Musical.) The company said it trained its workers and prepared them for an onslaught of fans. demand was overwhelming: In a notice on its website, Taco Bell reported that a store had sold 1,000 Mexican pizzas in a single day, a fan had ordered 180 at once, and overall, the demand had been seven times. higher than when the item appeared earlier in the menu.
Some conspiracy fans of both Mexican pizza and Choco Taco couldn’t help but see a similarity. Perhaps the discontinuation of Choco Taco production was just a publicity stunt to revive interest in a long-standing food through the engineered shortage, similar to the shortage of Popeyes chicken sandwiches in the fall of 2019, which only made them more popular.
“My friends, the Choco Taco will be back 100% and they will say that our indignation is the reason it is back, just like Mexican pizza”, tweeted the television director Payman Benz. “This is the new thing brands are doing with old favorites that don’t sell like they used to.”
This week, Taco Bell once again admitted defeat and told customers he would be discontinuing Mexican pizza until supplies were restocked, possibly in September. There is nothing like limiting supply to increase demand.